COLUMBUS, OH, August 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) — Pro-life legislators in Ohio have proposed a bill that will protect Down Syndrome babies from being “terminated” in the womb.
The bill would make it illegal to abort a baby just because that child may have Down’s.
Ohio Right to Life president Mike Gonidakis said the bill is important because Down Syndrome is easily misdiagnosed in pregnancy, yet so likely to lead to abortion. “Everyone has a right to live, perfect or not,” he said.
Approximately 90 percent of babies diagnosed as having Down's are aborted.
“You go to any supermarket or mall and see these families who just happen to have a child with Down syndrome, and they will tell you how fortunate they are to have those children,” Gonidakis said. “Pretty soon, we’re going to find the gene for autism. Are we going to abort for that, too?”
But abortion proponents say that, by focusing on the diagnosis of a fetal condition, the bill edges too close to recognizing the child in the womb as a person.
Paula Westwood of Greater Cincinnati Right to Life strongly supports the Ohio bill. “Every piece of legislation that will protect babies in the womb is a plus,” she told LifeSiteNews.
“We work for the day when all babies are protected, regardless of any perceived challenges or disabilities.”
Many parents of children with Down syndrome are strong proponents of the bill. Heather Bellegia-Ernst testified before the state Senate, “With nine out of ten babies with Down syndrome being aborted, extinction is what we are really talking about.”
Rachel Mullen said that her doctors pressured her to abort after a test showed a possibility of Down syndrome. “They told me that I should get an abortion fast, so no one would know I was pregnant,” Mullen said.
Mullen explained that her doctor told her that aborting her baby “would be doing the child a favor.”
But later testing showed her baby didn't have Downs at all.
Mullen concluded, “As soon as babies are born, they’re protected by the Americans With Disabilities Act, but we need this bill so that they can be born, and not killed.”
The Republican-led state legislature is expected to approve the bill this fall. Ohio governor and presidential candidate John Kasich, who is officially pro-life, has yet to state his position on the bill. Kasich has been seeking to broaden his appeal of late, and has publicly disavowed any single-issue pro-life convictions.
Pro-lifers will be looking closely at Gov. Kasich this time around. To the great disappointment of many, Kasich and his Ohio political allies, such as state Sen. Keith Faber — all who claim to be pro-life — did not support the most pro-life measure proposed in Ohio history.
The Kasich-defeated Heartbeat Bill would have stopped aborting babies once the doctor hears the child's heart beating.
Kasich appointed Gonidakis, leader of the state's largest pro-life organization but who also did not support the Heartbeat Bill, to the Ohio medical board.
In 2013, North Dakota passed legislation stopping the abortion of babies just because of genetic anomalies, including Down syndrome. Indiana, Missouri and South Dakota are considering similar laws. Arizona, Kansas, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and South Dakota all have laws banning sex-selection abortions.