A Pennsylvania bill to protect unborn babies with Down syndrome from discrimination advanced Monday in the state Senate.
The Meadville Tribune reports the state Senate Health and Human Services Committee approved the pro-life bill in a 7-4 party-line vote.
The Down Syndrome Protection Act, state House Bill 1500, would add Down syndrome to a state law that bans discriminatory abortions for sex-selection purposes. The bill would prohibit an abortion if the sole reason is because the unborn baby has a Down syndrome diagnosis and create felony charges for abortionists who violate the ban. The lead sponsor is state Rep. Kate Klunk, R-Hanover.
“A diagnosis of Down syndrome shouldn’t be a reason to end a viable life,” Klunk said.
Earlier this month, the bill passed the state House with bipartisan support. The state Senate is expected to pass the bill as well, but Gov. Tom Wolf, a pro-abortion Democrat with close ties to Planned Parenthood, promised to veto it.
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Though the bill has bipartisan support, Democrat lawmakers have been the most vocal critics of the legislation. This week, state Sen. Judy Schwank, D-Berks County, slammed the bill as “cruel and invasive,” according to the Tribune.
Others complained that the legislation would make “it a crime to think and consider options” and unfairly punish doctors who do abortions, according to the AP.
But pro-life leaders and lawmakers said the bill would protect the rights of people with disabilities as well as unborn babies.
“People with Down syndrome are living longer than ever and they’re happier than most of us,” said state Rep. Kathy Rapp, R-Warren, earlier this month. “So why are many of them being aborted, why? It’s a curious and heart-wrenching question, because there never has been a better time in all of history for people with Down syndrome.”
Discrimination against unborn babies with Down syndrome and other disabilities is growing with advances in prenatal testing. According to The Telegraph, a recent article in the “European Journal of Human Genetics” found that the number of babies with Down syndrome born in the United Kingdom dropped 54 percent since the non-invasive prenatal screening tests became available about a decade ago.
A few years ago, 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.
Meanwhile, Pennsylvanians with Down syndrome and their families have been advocating for the bill along with pro-life advocates. In April, Chloe Kondrich, a teenager who has Down syndrome, asked state lawmakers to pass the pro-life bill during a legislative hearing.
“Please support and pass the Down Syndrome Protection Act because the world needs more people like me,” she said. “Embrace, don’t erase, Down syndrome!”
Her father, Kurt Kondrich, said abortions have become a modern means of eugenics, and society needs to respect all life.
“Who’s next? Will we get a prenatal test for autism? How about for depression? How about for baldness? How about for ADHD?” he asked. “It’s the ultimate form of discrimination … and it’s eugenics. When society says we can get rid of a person because they do not meet the cultural mandate for perfection, I think we’re all in trouble.”
Lately, prominent pro-abortion groups, including NARAL and Planned Parenthood, have been arguing openly that abortions are ok for any reason, including discrimination.
“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 sex-selection and Down syndrome-based abortions.
ACTION ALERT: Contact Pennsylvania state senators to urge support for this pro-life bill.