Gov. Kristi Noem’s bill prohibiting abortions after a Down syndrome diagnosis earned the endorsement of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on Monday morning.
A South Dakota state Senate committee today approved legislation from the governor to protect babies with Down syndrome. Introduced by Gov. Kristi Noem, the legislation would prohibit abortionists from knowingly aborting an unborn baby because the baby has or may have Down syndrome.
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,” Noem said in January.
HB1110 seeks a Class 6 felony for a physician who provides an abortion of a fetus due to a Down syndrome diagnosis. If the doctor does not comply with the law, the woman or her family may sue for damages and attorney’s fees. The act does not apply in cases where an abortion is needed to protect the life of the mother.
A screening that reveals the possibility of Down syndrome for a fetus is often a “precursor” for abortion, according to Mark Miller, legal counsel to Noem.
“This is a chilling slide to eugenics,” Miller said. “We are better than that. We should be appalled by this.”
Speaking to the committee online from Indianapolis, Indiana, Katie Shaw told the committee that she has Down syndrome. “Thankfully, the doctors never mentioned abortion” to her parents, Shaw said.
Shaw said she works in retail and helped care for her grandparents.
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“I have a busy life, but it is a wonderful life,” Shaw said. “Every life is a wonderful gift.”
No one spoke against the bill, which the committee approved on a 5-0 vote.
Dr. Tara Sander Lee, a researcher and clinical scientist with the Charlotte Lozier Institute, pointed lawmakers to well-documented evidence that unborn babies with Down syndrome are targeted for abortions.
A 1999 study from the United Kingdom found a 92-percent abortion rate for unborn babies diagnosed with Down syndrome, and a 2012 review of U.S. data estimated the rate at between 61 percent and 93 percent, she said.
“Destroying the patient is not curative medicine. Today’s rates of abortion in the case of a Down syndrome diagnosis are nothing more than a modern-day form of eugenics,” Lee told the committee.
A number of states have passed 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.
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. 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 a recent article 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.
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.
ACTION ALERT: Contact South Dakota lawmakers.