South Dakota Gov Kristi Noem Introduces Bill to Ban Abortions on Babies With Down Syndrome

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Jan 25, 2021   |   4:28PM   |   Pierre, South Dakota

Unborn babies with Down syndrome are targeted for abortion at an alarming rate. In some countries, nearly 100 percent are aborted.

But Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota is working to end this deadly discrimination in her state.

On Monday, the Republican governor introduced a bill to prohibit unborn babies from being aborted because they were diagnosed with Down syndrome, STL News reports.

“The Declaration of Independence summarizes what we all know in our hearts to be true: God created each of us and endowed all of us with the right to life. This is true for everyone, including those with an extra chromosome,” Noem said in a statement.

The governor said she wants to protect every unborn baby from abortion, but the U.S. Supreme Court prohibits states from doing so under Roe v. Wade.

Until Roe is overturned, “I am asking the South Dakota legislature to pass a law that bans the abortion of a preborn child, just because that child is diagnosed with Down syndrome,” she said.

NewsCenter 1 reports Noem pointed to health data from Iceland and Denmark to demonstrate the need for her anti-discrimination bill. She also referred to a 2012 research study that estimates two of every three unborn babies with Down syndrome are aborted in the U.S.

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Recent reports in The Atlantic and CBS News found that nearly 100 percent of unborn babies who test positive for Down syndrome are aborted in Iceland, 95 percent in Denmark and 77 percent in France.

The deadly discrimination is getting worse with advances in prenatal testing. The Telegraph reports about 90 percent of unborn babies who test positive for Down syndrome in the United Kingdom are aborted. A recent report in the European Journal of Human Genetics found that the number of babies with Down syndrome born in the UK dropped 54 percent since the non-invasive prenatal screening tests became available about a decade ago.

What’s more, parents frequently report feeling pressured to abort unborn babies with Down syndrome and other disabilities. One mom recently told the BBC that she was pressured to abort her unborn daughter 15 times, including right up to the moment of her baby’s birth. Another mother from Brooklyn, New York said doctors tried to convince her to abort her unborn son for weeks before they took no for an answer.

A study highlighted in Scientific American also found evidence that families of children with Down syndrome often face negative, biased counseling and pressure to have abortions.

All this has prompted a number of states to pass laws to protect unborn babies from discrimination in recent years. Arkansas, Ohio, North Dakota, Missouri and Indiana are among them, but most of their anti-discrimination laws are being blocked in court.

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 abortions based on the unborn baby’s sex or a Down syndrome diagnosis.

If upheld, these laws could protect thousands of unborn babies from abortion every year. Many believe sex-selection abortions also occur in the U.S., though data is limited.