Ohio Bans Down Syndrome Abortion

Commentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS

The Ohio Senate passed a new law that will prohibit abortions for the sole reason of a Down syndrome diagnosis.

National Right to Life News is reporting on the passage of the Down Syndrome Non-Discrimination Act (SB 164) which passed the Ohio Senate by a vote of 20-12. The measure passed the Ohio House of Representatives last month by a vote of 63-30. It will now move to the desk of Governor John Kasich who is expected to sign it into law.

The legislation, which was sponsored by State Reps. Sarah LaTourette and Derek Merrin and by State Sen. Frank LaRose, will make it illegal for abortionists to commit, or attempt to commit, an abortion based on a diagnosis of Down syndrome.

Violations would be a fourth-degree felony punishable by as much as 18 months in prison. Doctors could also be held civilly liable for damages and the State Medical Board would be obligated to revoke the doctor’s license.

“When we hear the statistic that 90 percent of women [who receive unwelcome test results] chose abortion because of this potential diagnosis, there’s an obvious problem there,” said Rep. Sarah LaTourette to the Toledo Blade last month.

“I continue to say that this bill is about so much more than abortion,” she said. “I truly believe that it’s about discriminating against some of our most vulnerable, discriminating against an unborn child simply because they might have a Down Syndrome diagnosis. That’s something that I find absolutely unacceptable.”

Senator Frank LaRose said the bill wasn’t about abortion, it was about medical ethics. “It’s a matter of what kind of society do we want to have here in the state of Ohio,” he told the Columbus Dispatch.

Pro-abortion legislators, such as Rep. Nickie Antonio, resorted to the usual talking points about how the government has “no right to insert ourselves into the private decisions of a family” although they have no problem inserting themselves into taxpayer pockets when it comes time to pay for these “private” services.

Ohio now joins the states of Indiana and North Dakota which also ban abortions based on genetic anomalies.

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