Ohio Judge Blocks Abortion Ban on Down Syndrome Babies

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An Obama-appointed federal judge has blocked an Ohio law banning selective abortions that target babies diagnosed with Down syndrome.

“Federal law is crystal clear,” wrote Judge Timothy S. Black of the U.S. District Court for Southern Ohio in a 22-page ruling granting a preliminary injunction against the state.

Black — who has a reputation as a stridently liberal judge — wrote that the Ohio law “wrongfully” prohibits women from making the ultimate decision to terminate a pregnancy before viability. “It violates the right to privacy of every woman in Ohio and is unconstitutional on its face,” he added.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed the “Down Syndrome Non-Discrimination Act” into law last December, banning selective abortions performed on babies diagnosed with Trisomy 21, or Down syndrome.

The act, also known as House Bill 214, amended Ohio law to “prohibit a person from performing, inducing, or attempting to perform or induce an abortion on a pregnant woman who is seeking the abortion because an unborn child has or may have Down Syndrome.”

“While every unborn child deserves protection from abortion death, House Bill 214 is helpful in protecting those targeted for destruction due to cultural bigotry against babies identified before birth as ‘abnormal’ or ‘imperfect’ due to a Down Syndrome prediction,” noted Cincinnati Right to Life at the time.

The law would have taken effect March 23, but Black’s ruling prevents the state from enforcing the law until the case is decided.

“It’s a tragedy that the court prioritized abortion-on-demand over special-needs children. Our pro-life law simply ensured that Ohioans with Down syndrome would be protected against lethal discrimination. Unfortunately, the ACLU and the abortion industry callously disregarded these Ohioans,” said Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, who vowed that the battle is not over.

“Luckily, we have pro-life Attorney General Mike DeWine who will fiercely defend our law in order to protect our special-needs community. This isn’t the end. This is just the beginning.”

During his eight years as president, Barack Obama consistently named only pro-abortion judges, and he never earned less than a 100 percent approval rating from either NARAL Pro-Choice America or Planned Parenthood. During his first four-year term, in fact, Obama named two former Planned Parenthood officials as federal judges, appointing former Planned Parenthood board member Morgan Christen to the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and former Planned Parenthood director John McConnell as a federal judge in Rhode Island.

The effects of these appointments on abortion law have been made evident in a series of recent decisions.

For example, in 2016, Indiana passed a state law banning gender-selective abortions and those based on a prenatal diagnosis of disabilities such as Down syndrome, but the law was blocked by another Obama-appointed federal judge following a lawsuit brought by abortion giant Planned Parenthood.

U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Walton Pratt issued a permanent injunction against Indiana’s “Sex Selective and Disability Abortion Ban,” claiming that provisions of the law “violate the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”

In her decision, Judge Pratt defended sex-selective and disability-based abortions, stating that “it is a woman’s right to choose an abortion that is protected, which, of course, leaves no room for the State to examine, let alone prohibit, the basis or bases upon which a woman makes her choice.”

“The right to a pre-viability abortion is categorical,” regardless of the particular motivation that impels a woman to seek it, Pratt declared.

In his ruling, Black echoed the reasoning employed by Judge Pratt.

“The state cannot dictate what factors a woman is permitted to consider in making her choice,” he wrote, saying that the Ohio law “violates a woman’s right to choose, in clear derogation of federal law.”

The case will now go to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, one of the most conservative appeals courts in the nation.

“The Sixth Circuit’s current conservative orientation is … due in large part to President Donald Trump’s having already appointed three judges to it,” said Breitbart News’s senior legal editor, Ken Klukowski, who served as a law clerk to the former chief judge of the Sixth Circuit, Judge Alice Batchelder.

“No federal appeals court in the nation has seen more confirmed appointments than the Sixth Circuit (and is soon to be followed by a fourth nominee pending in the Senate, as well as a fifth nomination expected soon),” Klukowski said, adding, “The Sixth Circuit shows how consistent President Trump has been in keeping his campaign promise to appoint originalist judges who follow the Constitution as it is written.”

The case is Preterm Cleveland v. Himes, No. 1:18-cv-109, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.

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