Florida House Committee Passes Bill to Ban Abortions on Babies With Down Syndrome

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Mar 12, 2021   |   3:42PM   |   Tallahassee, Florida

A bill in the Florida legislature would protect unborn babies with Down syndrome and other disabilities from eugenic, discriminatory abortions.

Pro-life state House Bill 1221 passed a House subcommittee on Thursday in an 11-7 vote.

If enacted, the legislation would prohibit abortionists from doing abortions if the reason is because an unborn baby has been diagnosed with a disability, such as Down syndrome. Exceptions would be allowed if the mother’s life is at risk.

“For those of you that feel as strongly as you do that abortion is health care, there are many of us that don’t feel that the killing of a child can ever be health care, and we feel just as strongly as you do in your beliefs,” said Rep. Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach, according to the News Service of Florida.

Grall is the lead sponsor of the bill. State Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez, R-Doral, filed an identical bill, Senate Bill 1664, in the Florida Senate, the Hernando Sun reports.

After the vote, Andrew Shirvell, executive director of Florida Voice for the Unborn, praised lawmakers for taking action to protect babies with disabilities.

“Children who are diagnosed with Down syndrome or another genetic disability prior to their birth should not be targeted for extermination,” he said. “They are God’s children and have the same right to life as all other persons.”

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Meanwhile, the Planned Parenthood abortion chain opposed the bill, arguing that the decision to abort an unborn baby with disabilities should be between parents and their doctor.

A number of states have passed laws to protect unborn babies from discrimination in recent years amid mounting statistics showing that babies with disabilities frequently are targeted for abortions.

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.

South Dakota lawmakers unanimously approved a law earlier this month to protect unborn babies with Down syndrome from abortions. Arkansas, Ohio, North Dakota, Missouri and Indiana also passed pro-life anti-discrimination laws, but most are being blocked in court.

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.