Kentucky Committee Passes Bill to Ban Abortions on Babies With Down Syndrome

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Feb 21, 2019   |   1:57PM   |   Frankfort, KY

Kentucky lawmakers advanced another pro-life bill Wednesday to protect unborn babies from abortion in their state.

State House Bill 5 is one of several pro-life measures going through the state legislature this winter. If passed, it would ban discriminatory abortions on unborn babies based on their sex, race or disability, such as Down syndrome. Individuals and facilities that violate the measure could have their licenses revoked.

WHAS News 11 reports the bill passed the House Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection Committee in a 10-4 vote after an emotional debate.

Several pro-life advocates compared the deadly discrimination against unborn babies to similar human rights atrocities such as the Holocaust and slavery.

State Rep. Melinda Gibbons Prunty, the sponsor of the bill, said abortion has become a modern method of eugenics, WKYU FM reports.

“Demanding the right to extinguish or eliminate the life of an unborn child because of their gender, race or possible physical or mental disability is reminiscent of the evil social philosophy of eugenics,” Gibbons Prunty said.

However, state Rep. Attica Scott, a black lawmaker from Louisville, lashed out against the claims, according to the local news.

“Even during slavery, some black people didn’t want to be free. I’m voting no,” Scott said, trying to justify her vote.

Meanwhile, the ACLU already is considering a legal challenge if the bill becomes law, the Courier Journal reports.

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“If we can challenge it, we will challenge it,” said Amber Duke, a spokeswoman for the pro-abortion group.

Also advancing in Kentucky are pro-life bills that would ban abortions after an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable (about six weeks) and another that would ban abortions completely if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

This winter, pro-lifers are watching the U.S. Supreme Court closely as it considers a similar Indiana law that bans discriminatory abortions based on an unborn baby’s race, sex or disability.

One of the groups supporting the Indiana law, the American Center for Law and Justice, urged the high court to hear the case on behalf of 44 families of children with disabilities.

“Indiana’s law protects children like theirs and recognizes that unborn children deserve protection from invidious discrimination,” the legal group wrote in its brief. “Though many of these families ultimately lost their children, these parents do not consider that to have diminished the importance of the children’s lives.”

Calling the law a ban on eugenic abortions, ACLJ pointed out that many vulnerable parents are pressured into the “irreversible decision” to abort unborn babies with disabilities.

Unborn babies with Down syndrome and other disabilities are discriminated against at alarming rates. Parents frequently report feeling pressured 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.

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.