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Ohio Senate votes to ban abortions on babies with Down syndrome

Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

COLUMBUS, Ohio, November 21, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Both chambers of the Ohio state legislature have passed bills protecting preborns with Down syndrome from being aborted.

Last Wednesday, the Republican-majority state Senate overwhelmingly passed 20-12 a ban on abortions because of a diagnosis of possible Down syndrome. Likewise, the state House overwhelmingly passed their version 63-30 earlier this month.

Ohio Right to Life president Mike Gonidakis thanked legislators “for taking a stand against the modern-day eugenic practice of aborting babies with Down syndrome.”

“All Ohioans, regardless of gender, skin color or disability, deserve the right to live out their God-given potential and purpose,” he said.

The medical journal, Prenatal Diagnosis, reported that up to 85 percent of pregnant women who receive a Down syndrome diagnosis abort their child.  

Proposed punishments for abortionists violating the ban are a loss of license with up to $5,000 in fines and up to 18 months in jail. There are no proposed punishments for the women who abort a possible Down syndrome baby.

Ohio becomes the fourth state to prohibit abortion because of possible fetal abnormality. Indiana, Louisiana, and North Dakota have broader bans, but a federal judge decided Indiana’s fetal protection law was unconstitutional. Louisiana’s ban is being challenged as well.

Last year, Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed into law the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which forbids abortion after 20 weeks, but simultaneously vetoed a pro-life ban on abortions after the baby’s heartbeat is detected.

Three Republicans broke ranks to vote against the pro-life bill: Matt Dolan (Chagrin Falls), Gayle Manning (North Ridgeville), and Stephanie Kunze (Hilliard).

Democrats opposed the pro-life bill. Ironically, they argued the legislation doesn’t do anything to improve the lives of Ohioans with Down syndrome.

Senator Joe Schiavoni, D-Boardman, characterized the law as “scaring the doctors and shaming women.” Schiavoni is running for governor.

The Democrats were successful in adding two amendments to the law. One ensures no tax dollars would be spent to legally defend the law, and the other ensures that women cannot be compelled to reveal why they abort.

Reps. Sarah LaTourette, R-Chesterland, and Derek Merrin, R-Monclova Township, sponsored the House version.

Down syndrome is genetic. One in 691 babies is born with Down syndrome. The cause is not known, but it can be detected in the womb or after birth to help the child therapeutically.

Live Action reported that parents are often misinformed about Down syndrome. “They are not informed of the advances in science and medicine that allow people with Down syndrome to lead successful lives. Today, people with Down syndrome receive equal education alongside their peers, and many live on their own, get married, and hold jobs.”

Amniocentesis testing for Down syndrome can be wrong. And newer, less invasive testing gives a false “positive” 50 percent of the time or more. The Boston Globe published a major study by the New England Center for Investigative Reporting that concluded “hundreds” of parents are aborting healthy babies.

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