Arkansas legislature sends bill banning Down syndrome abortions to pro-life governor’s desk
LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas, March 28, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Arkansas will soon become the latest state to ban abortions sought specifically in response to a prenatal Down syndrome diagnosis, thanks to a bill that cleared its final legislative hurdle Wednesday.
Introduced by Republican state Sen. Trent Garner, Senate Bill 2 forbids abortionists from committing an abortion if they determine that the woman seeking it has obtained a prenatal diagnosis indicating Down syndrome. Abortionists who proceed anyway would lose their medical license and face up to six years in jail and/or a maximum $10,000 fine.
"I decided to push the bill forward to protect those that were born differently," Garner explained. "Through the disastrous procedure of abortion, we lose valuable and special people from society."
"We need to make it a priority to help these children, and their families," Republican state Rep. Julie Mayberry said in the run-up to the vote.
Down syndrome, or Trisomy 21, is a genetic disorder typically associated with physical growth delays, distinct facial traits, and often intellectual disability. Despite its challenges, a 2011 study published in the American Journal of Medical Genetics found that 99 percent of people with Down syndrome described themselves as “happy,” and only 4 percent of parents with Down children expressed regret about having their child.
Yet around the world, Down syndrome is seen as a justification for aborting preborn children. The pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute estimates that abortion reduces the Down community in the United States by 30 percent. It has been estimated that 90 percent of babies in Great Britain to receive a Down syndrome diagnosis are aborted, 65 percent in Norway, virtually 100 percent in Iceland, and 95 percent in Spain.
The bill is expected to be signed into law by Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who last month signed a law that will automatically ban abortion once Roe v. Wade is overturned or otherwise invalidated, and has said he plans to sign another pending bill that would ban abortion starting at 18 weeks.
Once passed, the law is likely to face a legal challenge. The left-wing American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) recently filed a federal lawsuit against Kentucky for its ban on abortions based on Down syndrome as well as race, sex, or other disabilities, which could decide the fate of Down syndrome abortion bans in Arkansas and other states as well.