Dr. Wing Ng, a physician at UNC Health and father of a girl with Down syndrome, said prenatal testing cannot accurately predict how someone like his daughter would fare in life.
A North Carolina state Senate committee passed a pro-life bill Wednesday to protect unborn babies with Down syndrome from discrimination.
The Human Life Non-Discrimination Act (state House Bill 453) would prohibit abortionists from knowingly doing an abortion that is sought because of the unborn baby’s race or the likelihood that he or she has Down syndrome.
Pro-life lawmakers said they want to end “discriminatory eugenic abortions” in North Carolina, and the law would add to the 2013 ban on discriminatory sex-selection abortions.
State Rep. Dean Arp, R-Union County, a lead sponsor of the bill, said North Carolina citizens want a society that values children.
“We do not want to be the kind of society that not only discriminates but disposes of children because of the way they are created,” Arp said. “North Carolina citizens do not want to be that kind of society either.”
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“I believe we will all be judged by how we treat our most vulnerable citizens, and these tiny babies are those citizens,” Sen. Joyce Krawiec, a Forsyth County Republican, said before the Senate Health Committee’s GOP majority approved the bill.
“When babies are aborted for having Down syndrome, we are killing a piece of our own humanity,” Ng said. “Babies with Down syndrome have every right to exist as God intended. They should be afforded that fighting chance to live and to succeed.”
The plan that cleared the House last month was approved in the Senate judiciary Wednesday afternoon. It now goes to the chamber’s rules committee. If approved, it would then head to the Senate floor for a final vote.
The bill has a chance of passing the Republican-controlled state legislature, but Gov. Roy Cooper, a pro-abortion Democrat, likely would veto it if it reaches his desk.
Discriminatory, eugenic abortions have become of increasing concern with the growing availability of prenatal genetic testing. Unborn babies with Down syndrome and other disabilities are targeted for abortions at astronomical rates. Many believe sex-selection abortions also occur in the U.S., though data is limited.
A CBS News report shocked the nation with its exposure of the discriminatory abortion trend. According to the report, nearly 100 percent of unborn babies who test positive for Down syndrome are aborted in Iceland. The rate in France was 77 percent in 2015, 90 percent in the United Kingdom and 67 percent in the United States between 1995 and 2011, according to CBS.
Many parents also feel pressured by doctors and genetic counselors to consider abortion after a prenatal diagnosis. One mom recently told the BBC that she was pressured to abort her unborn daughter 15 times after she was diagnosed with Down syndrome, including right up to the time of her baby’s birth. In another case, a 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 study highlighted in Scientific American found evidence that families of children with Down syndrome often face negative, biased counseling and pressure to have abortions.
Other states with laws that protect unborn babies with disabilities include Arkansas, Ohio, North Dakota, South Dakota, Missouri and Indiana. However, most are not in effect because of legal challenges.