Utah Senate Committee Passes Bill Banning Abortions on Babies With Down Syndrome

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Feb 27, 2018   |   5:29PM   |   Salt Lake City, UT

A Utah bill to protect unborn babies with Down syndrome from abortion moved closer to final approval on Monday. A state Senate committee passed House Bill 205 in a 3-2 vote late Monday, moving it to the full Senate for consideration, Fox News 13 reports.

State Rep. Karianne Lisonbee, who sponsored the bill, said babies with Down syndrome often face a deadly form of discrimination: abortion, according to Utah Public Radio.

“Social engineering is alive and well,” Lisonbee said.

During the committee meeting, several people expressed concerns that the bill could face a legal challenge, according to the report. Planned Parenthood is challenging similar laws in Indiana and Ohio.

If the bill passes, Utah would become the fourth state to ban such eugenic abortions. Its state House approved the bill several weeks ago.

Amber Merkley, of the Utah Down Syndrome Foundation, praised the bill in a statement to Fox News.

“Fear is the enemy of joy, and we feel a lot of these decisions are made from a place of fear,” she said, bringing up what happened when she first learned that her child had Down syndrome. “The information we were given was okay, but a lot of it was outdated. We were directed to a clinic that didn’t exist.”

Indiana, Ohio and North Dakota have led the way in banning abortions on babies with Down syndrome, and other states are considering measures like the Utah legislation.

Unborn babies with Down syndrome and other disabilities are discriminated against at astronomical rates. Parents of children with disabilities frequently report feeling pressure to abort them by doctors and genetic counselors.

Last year, a CBS News report shocked the nation with its exposure of the discriminatory abortion trend. According to the report, nearly 100 percent of unborn babies who test positive for Down syndrome are aborted in Iceland. The rate in France was 77 percent in 2015, 90 percent in the United Kingdom and 67 percent in the United States between 1995 and 2011, according to CBS.

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Some put the rate as high as 90 percent in the United States, but it is difficult to determine the exact number because the U.S. government does not keep detailed statistics about abortion.

Naturally, Planned Parenthood opposes the legislation.