19 States Ask Supreme Court to Uphold Ban on Abortions on Babies With Down Syndrome

National   Christina Vazquez   Dec 19, 2018   |   1:22PM    Washington, DC

Nineteen states came together this fall to urge the U.S. Supreme Court to protect the lives of the unborn from discrimination.

A coalition of 19 state attorneys general urged the Supreme Court to safeguard state laws that ban discriminatory abortions based on the sex, race or disability of the unborn child. Furthermore, the coalition is seeking to guarantee that the remains of the unborn children are buried or cremated in a respectful manner.

The coalition filed a friend-of-the-court brief arguing against a lower court ruling against an Indiana pro-life law. They said the ruling “exhibits unprecedented and unlawful hostility to each state’s authority to honor human life and dignity,” according to the West Virginia Record.

The brief states, “Surely a State that has the constitutional authority to protect members of the Down syndrome community from being discriminated against in employment or public accommodations can protect that same community from wholesale elimination by eugenic practices.”

The brief, filed in late November, asks the Supreme Court to grant review of a ruling of the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that permanently blocked enforcement of the Indiana law, House Bill 1337. The law was enacted in 2016.

Indiana’s Attorney General Curtis Hill mentioned that Minnesota has a similar law that was upheld as constitutional by the Eighth Circuit, according to ABC57 News.

“The result is that Minnesota can require burial or cremation of fetal remains while Indiana cannot,” Hill wrote. He continued, writing that only the Supreme Court “can decide which of these positions is correct.”

“The Constitution gives every state the inherent authority to protect life,” West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said in support of the law. “That authority extends to enacting laws that prohibit abortion from being used as a tool to eliminate any particular segment of the population.”

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The states in the Wisconsin-led brief include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.

If enacted, the Indiana law would ban abortion doctors from knowingly aborting an unborn baby solely because of a disability such as Down syndrome, the unborn baby’s race or sex. It also requires that aborted or miscarried babies’ bodies be cremated or buried.

Indiana was the second state to establish a safeguard to protect unborn children with Down syndrome and other disabilities. Eight states also prohibit sex-selection abortions prior to viability.

If the case is accepted by the U.S. Supreme Court, there is hope that the law will be upheld. With Justice Brett Kavanaugh recently confirmed, the now conservative majority court may decide cases in a pro-life manner. Kavanaugh’s predecessor, Justice Anthony Kennedy, rarely ruled in favor of life.

Unborn babies with Down syndrome and other disabilities are discriminated against at alarming rates. Parents whose unborn babies have disabilities frequently report feeling pressure to abort them by doctors and genetic counselors.

The rate of unborn babies who are aborted after a Down syndrome diagnosis is about 67 percent in the U.S., according to CBS News. Some put the rate as high as 90 percent in the United States, but it is difficult to determine the exact number because the government does not keep detailed statistics about abortion.