Ohio law protecting babies with Down syndrome from abortion challenged in court
CINCINNATI, Ohio, March 16, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati, Ohio, heard arguments Wednesday over an Ohio law banning abortions on babies based on a Down syndrome diagnosis.
Abortion supporters brought the legal challenge soon after Governor John Kasich (R) signed it into law in 2017.
Ben Flowers, arguing on behalf of the state of Ohio, said the law sends a message that these abortions “are so heinous and so inhumane that doctors can go to jail and lose their licenses” for committing them.
According to Courthouse News Service, “The state’s attorney repeatedly told the judges his opponents failed to provide any evidence the law will place an undue burden on women seeking abortions, and said its practical effect is unknown because it has yet to be implemented.”
The Trump administration supported the state of Ohio in defending the law.
“Nothing in Ohio’s law creates a substantial obstacle to women obtaining an abortion,” the U.S. Department of Justice argued in a filing, “and nothing in the Constitution or Supreme Court precedent requires States to authorize medical providers to participate in abortions the providers know are based on Down syndrome.”
An attorney arguing for the the abortion supporters called the law “an absolute ban.”
Judge Raymond Kethledge later contradicted her. “It’s not a ban,” he pointed out.
Kethledge “joined several of his colleagues in voicing their opinion that the law regulates only doctors and not the women seeking abortions,” Courthouse News Service reported.
Judge Jeffrey Sutton agreed with Kethledge, saying it is “not a terrible idea” to pass legislation limiting a doctor’s ability to perform selective abortions.
“While several members of the court seem poised to overturn the lower court’s injunction, the majority of the 14 judges remained silent throughout proceedings,” Courthouse News Service wrote, adding there was no indication when they would issue a ruling.
Under the law there are no punishments for women who hire abortionists to kill their babies with Down syndrome. Abortionists violating the ban may be subject to fines, jail time, or a loss of their medical license.
Meanwhile, the Mississippi House of Representatives passed the Life Equality Act last week. The bill, which will now be considered by the senate, prohibits abortion from being perfomed “because of race, sex, or genetic abnormality except in a medical emergency.”
The Susan B. Anthony (SBA) List praised the bill’s passage. Its State Policy Director, Sue Liebel, said that “Mississippi is a strongly pro-life state, and we are encouraged to see pro-life lawmakers put forth compassionate legislation to protect children from lethal discrimination abortion.”
“Abortions carried out because of a baby’s sex, race, or potential disability, such as Down syndrome, is no less than modern-day eugenics,” she emphasized.