An Arizona Senate committee approved a pro-life bill Thursday to ban discriminatory abortions on unborn babies with genetic abnormalities such as Down syndrome.
Sponsored by state Sen. Nancy Barto, R-Phoenix, Senate Bill 1457 would make it a felony for an abortionist to abort an unborn baby because he or she was diagnosed with a genetic disorder. Exceptions would be allowed if the mother’s life is at risk. Arizona already prohibits discriminatory abortions because of an unborn baby’s race or sex.
Capitol Media Services reports the bill passed the state Senate Judiciary Committee with Republicans voting in favor and Democrats against.
Testifying prior to the vote, Arizona mother Kristin Plamondon encouraged lawmakers to protect children like her son Carter who has Down syndrome.
He is “the fiercest basketball player in his class,” Plamondon said, according to the local news. “And he happens to have almond-shaped eyes and an extra copy of chromosome No. 21, Down syndrome. Life with Carter is simply the most amazing gift our family has been handed.”
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Others told lawmakers that the horrific eugenics of the Nazis and others has not gone away. Now, human beings who are deemed “less fit” are aborted before birth.
“It won’t be long before eugenics becomes popular in our society despite it having earned its negative association due to Adolph Hitler’s obsessive attempts to create a superior race,” Gianna Elms, a licensed clinical social worker, told the committee. “It won’t be long before a simple DNA analysis will be conducted as part of Planned Parenthood’s business. And it will eventually fall into a normal part of the prenatal process.”
Planned Parenthood, a billion-dollar abortion group, opposes the bill, slamming it as just another “cruel attempt” to restrict abortions.
But Barto said her bill will protect unborn babies and mothers, the AP reports.
“This bill will stop abortions solely based on the child’s genetic abnormalities,” she said. “My bill also protects Arizona women. They deserve more than to have their health gambled to benefit the abortion industry’s bottom line.”
Along with the anti-discrimination provision, her bill also would prohibit abortion drugs from being provided by telemedicine or mail-order.
Cathi Herrod, president of the pro-life Center for Arizona Policy, said these protections are important because abortion drugs are dangerous for mothers as well as their unborn babies, according to the AP.
“There’s a nationwide push to send abortion pills through the mail,” Herrod said. “Women who take chemical abortion pills are four times more likely to have complications than those that have surgical abortions.”
Barto’s bill also would require that aborted babies’ bodies be cremated or buried.
If her bill passes, Arizona would join a growing list of states that have laws to protect unborn babies from discrimination.
Abortion discrimination occurs at an alarming rate, and it 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.
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. A 2012 research study estimated two of every three unborn babies with Down syndrome are aborted in the U.S.
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.
This winter, South Dakota is considering a similar bill to ban abortions on unborn babies with Down syndrome.