A bill in the Missouri Senate would prevent doctors from performing a selective abortion if a woman is seeking it solely because of a diagnosis of Down syndrome.
Senate bill 802 is sponsored by Sen. David Sater, R-Cassville, and prohibits “abortions performed solely because of a prenatal diagnosis, test, or screening indicating Down Syndrome or the potential of Down Syndrome in an unborn child.”
Studies suggest that nationwide more than 90 percent of women who receive a prenatal diagnosis indicating that their child will have Down syndrome end up aborting the child. Moreover, abortion after prenatal diagnosis has effectively reduced the population of individuals living with Down Syndrome in the U.S. by approximately 30 percent, or nearly a third of the entire population.
In 2013, North Dakota became the first state in the U.S. to ban abortions on babies diagnosed with Down Syndrome, after Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple signed the bill into law.
The Missouri bill would require that after every abortion, doctors would have to certify they had no knowledge the abortion was sought solely because of prenatal diagnosis showing Down syndrome. A doctor violating the measure could serve up to a year in prison and pay a fine up to $1,000.
Ohio is considering similar legislation with the Ohio Right to Life’s Down Syndrome Non-Discrimination Act (H.B. 135), which has been introduced in the Ohio House of Representatives. The bill is sponsored by Reps. Sarah LaTourrette and David Hall, with sixteen other legislators signed on as co-sponsors of the bill.
“More and more, it seems that society is rejecting discrimination in favor of diversity, empathy, and understanding for the most vulnerable and marginalized members of our communities,” said Stephanie Ranade Krider, executive director of Ohio Right to Life. “It makes sense that we would apply that practice across the whole spectrum of life, to protect some of the most vulnerable of the vulnerable, starting in the womb.”
The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Sarah LaTourette, said that the bill is primarily about discrimination.
“While I make no effort to conceal my pro-life convictions, I firmly believe this bill is about discrimination, not abortion. Choosing to end an individual’s life simply because they are different, or might have Down syndrome, is discrimination. There is simply no other way to look at it,” she said.
Coincidentally, recent reports from Iraq reveal that an Islamic state sharia judge had issued a fatwa against children with Down syndrome and congenital diseases, and that militants had subsequently murdered at least 38 children with disabilities.
The killings were all carried out by lethal injection or asphyxiation.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome