Ohio Fights in Court to Uphold Law Banning Abortions on Babies With Down Syndrome

State   Micaiah Bilger   Mar 11, 2020   |   5:15PM    Columbus, Ohio

An Ohio case that could determine if states may protect unborn babies from discrimination went before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday.

The Wall Street Journal reports the full Sixth Circuit heard arguments about the 2017 Ohio law, which bans abortionists from doing discriminatory abortions on unborn babies with Down syndrome. It also bans sex-selection abortions and abortions because of the baby’s race.

A judge with close ties to Planned Parenthood blocked enforcement of the law after the ACLU of Ohio, the Preterm-Cleveland abortion facility and other abortion groups sued. In October, a Sixth Circuit panel upheld the judge’s block, but later the full court agreed to hear an appeal.

On Wednesday, attorneys for Ohio told the Sixth Circuit judges that the law is constitutional because it bans doctors from doing abortions for discriminatory reasons, the AP reports.

Here’s more from the report:

The Trump Justice Department took the state of Ohio’s side in the case in January, writing, “Nothing in Ohio’s law creates a substantial obstacle to women obtaining an abortion.”

Opponents, meanwhile, call the law an illegal “reason ban.” They say it undercuts the woman’s independent decision-making by attempting to get into her mind, or prevent her from speaking freely with her doctor, as she makes an abortion decision.

Stephanie Ranade Krider, executive director of Ohio Right to Life, expressed optimism about the court’s ruling.

“This would be a huge win for the cause of life in Ohio and beyond: a federal court affirming what we already know – that discriminatory abortions have no place in Ohio – could positively impact other states’ legislative protections for people with Down Syndrome,” Krider said.

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Pro-life leaders also felt renewed hope in 2019 when U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas wrote about a similar Indiana law. Thomas said the Indiana law and “other laws like it promote a State’s compelling interest in preventing abortion from becoming a tool of modern-day eugenics.”

Judge Alice Moore Batchelder, who was on the Sixth Circuit panel that heard the case last year, also supported the law. In her decision in October, she argued that the law should be upheld to prevent the deliberate targeting of children with disabilities. She cited the U.S. Supreme Court ruling Buck vs. Bell, which allowed for forced sterilization in order to prevent “socially inadequate offspring.”

“The eugenicist impulse on display in Buck, and amplified in its aftermath, is no mere relic of history. Today, many countries celebrate the use of abortion to cleanse their populations of babies whom some would view—ignorantly—as sapping the strength of society,” Batchelder wrote.

Lately, prominent pro-abortion groups, including NARAL and Planned Parenthood, have been arguing openly that abortions are ok for any reason, including discrimination and sex-selection.

EVERY reason to have an abortion is a valid reason,” Colleen McNicholas, a Planned Parenthood abortionist, told the AP in 2019 when Missouri passed a law that bans sex-selection and Down syndrome-based abortions.

If upheld, these laws could protect thousands of unborn babies from abortion every year. Unborn babies with Down syndrome are targeted for abortions at astronomical rates. Many believe sex-selection abortions also occur in the U.S., though data is limited.

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.

North Dakota, Missouri and Indiana also passed laws to protect unborn babies with Down syndrome from discriminatory abortions. However, in 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal to lift a block on the Indiana law. A judge also recently blocked the Missouri law.