Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves signed a pro-life law last week to provide resources and encouragement to families of children with Down syndrome.
The Down Syndrome Information Act aims to combat the high abortion rate for unborn babies diagnosed with the genetic disorder by requiring medical facilities to provide information and support to parents facing the diagnosis, according to the Christian Post.
Among other things, it requires medical professionals to explain details about their child’s development, medical needs and treatment options, as well as support programs and other resources to help individuals and families with Down syndrome.
The pro-life bill passed with bipartisan support, including unanimous support in the Mississippi Senate.
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CBN News reports the pro-life legislation is nicknamed Hudson’s Law after Hudson Hartman, a young Mississippi boy who has Down syndrome.
Hudson and his mother, Mika, also supported the 2020 Mississippi law that bans discriminatory abortions on unborn babies with disabilities, the Post reports.
“This law goes hand in hand with the Life Equality Act and will serve as an important check to ensure that doctors are empowering parents of children who have Down syndrome with accurate information and resources,” said Sue Liebel of the Susan B. Anthony List. “Parents deserve to know that 99% of people with Down syndrome live happy and fulfilled lives. No child should be deprived of the right to be born, especially due to a disability – this is no less than modern-day eugenics.”
Thanks to modern medical advances and better social support, the life expectancy for people with Down syndrome has increased dramatically in the past 50 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Many now live into their 50s and 60s. Among their growing list of achievements, people with Down syndrome have graduated from college, become actors, models, business owners and pro-life and disability rights advocates.
However, deadly discrimination by abortion is still a huge problem. 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, 77 percent in France and 67 percent in the United States.
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 recent Marist poll found that 65 percent of Americans, including 50 percent who identify as pro-choice, oppose discrimination abortions because an unborn baby has Down syndrome.
For years, the Mississippi legislature has been trying to protect unborn babies from abortion. In 2018, it passed a bill to ban abortions after 15 weeks when unborn babies are nearly fully developed, and then in 2019, it passed another bill to ban abortions once an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, about six weeks of pregnancy. However, the abortion industry challenged both in court, and the state has been prohibited from enforcing the life-saving laws.
Other states, including South Dakota, Ohio, North Dakota, Missouri and Indiana, also recently passed laws to protect unborn babies with Down syndrome from discriminatory abortions. However, most of them are being blocked in court. In 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal to lift a block on the Indiana law.