Arizona House Passes Bill Banning Abortions on Babies With Down Syndrome

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 1, 2021   |   5:23PM   |   Phoenix, Arizona

A pro-life bill that would ban discriminatory abortions on unborn babies with genetic abnormalities such as Down syndrome has received a positive vote from the Arizona House of Representatives. After a confirmation vote in the Senate, the bill will head to Arizona’s pro-life governor.

A major pro-life bill designed to protect the most vulnerable from discrimination, protect the safety and well-being of women, and establish the value of all human life in Arizona law is just one step away from Governor Ducey’s desk. Arizona representatives passed SB 1457 on a party line vote of 31-29 after a contentious argument on the House floor. Republicans voted yes and Democrats voted no.

Cathi Herrod of the Center for Arizona Policy tells that pro-life Republicans stopped efforts by pro-abortion Democrats to derail the bill.

“Pro-abortion lawmakers tried every tactic available to stop the vote, but gratefully, pro-life legislators prevailed. Many spoke passionately about the duty to protect both baby and mother,” she said.

Senate Bill 1457, sponsored by state Sen. Nancy Barto, R-Phoenix, passed the Arizona Senate earlier this month and now just need a vote to confirm changes on the House side.

If enacted, the bill would make it a crime 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. Abortionists who violate the measure could face jail time, but mothers would not be punished. Arizona already prohibits discriminatory abortions because of an unborn baby’s race or sex.

The bill also would prohibit dangerous abortion drugs from being delivered by mail without a woman having an exam or seeing a doctor, and prohibit public schools from referring students for abortions. It would require that the remains of aborted babies be buried or cremated as well.

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“What we’re trying to do is protect those that are most vulnerable in the womb,” Barto said, according to Capitol Media Services. “And right now, it’s those with disabilities. They’re being singled out and targeted.”

Herrod said the bill “prohibits abortion based on the diagnosis of a genetic abnormality, except for those incompatible with life. It also protects women from the dangers of chemical abortions by ensuring the pills are not delivered through the mail, leaving women to fend for themselves as they endure the painful and risky ordeal alone. A do-it-yourself abortion can be deadly, and requires a doctor’s visit both before and after taking the abortion pills.”

“This is a commonsense bill, one all Arizonans should be able to support because it protects those with disabilities from discrimination inside the womb, just as Arizona law protects those with disabilities outside the womb. It also ensures women’s safety takes priority over the abortion industry’s bottom line,” she told LifeNews.

Research suggests up to 93 percent of unborn babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in the U.S. are aborted. 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 90 percent in England.

Parents also 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.

The goal of Barto’s bill is to stop this discrimination and protect unborn babies and mothers, but some Democrat lawmakers claimed it would force certain religious views on others.

The committee also heard testimony from OB-GYN Dr. Lance Holeman who explained how the bill would protect women through the abortion drug restrictions, according to the report. Holeman said abortion groups that send abortion drugs in the mail to women without requiring an examination first could put her life at risk. He said about 2 percent of pregnancies are ectopic, and a woman with an undetected ectopic pregnancy who takes the drugs could be at risk of death.

South Dakota recently passed a similar law to ban discriminatory abortions on unborn babies with Down syndrome.

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.