Utah House Approves Ban on Down Syndrome Abortions

14-month-old Lucas Warren of Dalton, Ga. won over executives at Gerber baby food who have made him their "spokesbaby" this year. Lucas is Gerber's first spokesbaby with Down syndrome in the company's 91-year history. (Courtesy Warren family/Gerber via AP)
Warren family/Gerber via AP
DR. SUSAN BERRY

The Utah state House has passed a bill that prohibits abortions sought expressly because the unborn baby has been diagnosed with Down syndrome.

The legislation passed the state House, 54-15, along party lines, on Friday.

Republican state Rep. Karianne Lisonbee sponsored the legislation, H.B. 166, which states pregnant women must be provided with specific information prior to having an abortion. Additionally, the bill prohibits a person from “performing, inducing, or attempting to perform or induce an abortion on a pregnant woman who is seeking the abortion solely because an unborn child has or may have Down syndrome.”

In a speech on the state House floor, KSL.com reported Lisonbee described the abortion of Down syndrome babies as “eugenics.”

“America has long repudiated the horrors of eugenics and the eugenics movement, but social engineering is alive and well in Utah’s abortion clinics and doctor’s offices today as we see the eradication of babies with Down syndrome,” she said, adding that she has heard “unfathomable” stories from parents who said their doctors told them they “must abort this baby” after receiving a diagnosis of Down syndrome.

“This bill is not unconstitutional,” Lisonbee also said, referring to a previous version of the bill that was feared to be unconstitutional and then died at the very end of last year’s legislative session.

The current bill includes a “trigger” that states the abortion ban would only take effect after a court ruled on its constitutionality.

“We must send a message to the world that Utah values everyone,” Lisonbee added.

The bill now heads to the state Senate for consideration.

The U.S. Supreme Court decided in January it would not hear an appeal from Indiana regarding a similar ban on abortions for genetic abnormalities such as Down syndrome.

.