Arkansas House Passes Bill Banning Abortions on Babies With Down Syndrome

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Mar 28, 2019   |   9:37AM   |   Little Rock, AR

Arkansas House lawmakers sent a pro-life bill to Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s desk Wednesday to protect unborn babies with Down syndrome from abortion.

The state House approved the bill by an overwhelming majority in a 75-11 vote, after the state Senate passed it last week, the AP reports. It is the third pro-life bill to pass in a month in Arkansas.

State Senate Bill 2 would prohibit abortionists from aborting unborn babies if the sole reason is because the unborn baby has a Down syndrome diagnosis. Abortionists who violate the measure could have their licenses revoked and face felony charges.

Legislators condemned the fact that most babies in the United States diagnosed with Down syndrome are killed in abortions. Unborn babies with Down syndrome and other disabilities are discriminated against at alarming rates, and parents frequently report feeling pressured to abort them by doctors and genetic counselors.

Here’s more from the Democrat-Gazette:

Speaking for the bill, Rep. Julie Mayberry, R-Hensley, encouraged her colleagues to keep in mind those with genetic disorders as they vote on other measures, noting that SB2 would result in more children being born with birth defects.

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“We need to make it a priority to help these children, and their families,” she said.

[Sen. Trent Garner’s] bill would require doctors to inform pregnant women that abortions performed strictly because of a Down syndrome diagnosis would be illegal. Doctors also would be required to request a woman’s medical history if she acknowledges that she is aware of such a diagnosis before an abortion.

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, but it is difficult to determine the exact number because the government does not keep detailed statistics about abortion.

Hutchinson is expected to sign the law, as he did two other pro-life measures earlier this year. One, signed last week, bans abortions after 18 weeks, and the other would ban abortions completely once Roe v. Wade is overturned.