Pennsylvania Republicans to Revive Bill Banning Down Syndrome Abortions

Down syndrome baby
KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images

A group of Pennsylvania Republicans is pursuing legislation that would make abortions to end the lives of Down syndrome babies illegal.

Republican State Sen. Scott Martin of Lancaster County said as he shared a stage with his colleagues, including House Speaker Mike Turzai, that he is sponsoring the measure because “a lot of the folks on this stage are very much in the fight for life in this country and around the world.”

As WITF reported, the legislation is revived though the State Senate failed to pass a similar bill in the last session, and pro-abortion Democrat Gov. Tom Wolf vowed to veto such a bill again if it reached his desk.

Martin added that he and the others announcing the bill want to affirm the lives of people with Down syndrome and fight against the “more sinister” issue of the “practice of eugenics.”

Wednesday was World Down Syndrome Day, an event that both President Donald Trump and Pope Francis celebrated:

“Sadly, there remain too many people – both in the United States and throughout the world – that still see Down syndrome as an excuse to ignore or discard human life,” Trump said in a statement. “This sentiment is and will always be tragically misguided. We must always be vigilant in defending and promoting the unique and special gifts of all citizens in need.”

“We should not tolerate any discrimination against them, as all people have inherent dignity,” the president added.

The proposed legislation would make it a third-degree felony for doctors in Pennsylvania to perform abortions based solely on the diagnosis of Down syndrome.

The Republican lawmakers plan to add the Down syndrome restriction to the state’s Abortion Control Act, which also bans sex-selection abortions.

Last year, the Pennsylvania State House passed the Down syndrome abortion ban with the help of 24 Democrats.

Democrats also joined with Republicans in New Mexico this week in defeating a bill that would have decriminalized abortion – removing all restrictions to the procedure – and compelled doctors and nurses in the state to perform abortions.

Abortion giant Planned Parenthood ridiculed the Pennsylvania Down syndrome proposal as another restriction on abortion.

“This bill is yet another unconstitutional attempt to ban safe, legal abortion in Pennsylvania,” said Maggie Groff, interim executive director of Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates.

“Politicians need to stop wasting time with abortion ban legislation that has already failed,” Groff added. “They need to introduce bills that ensure people with disabilities in our communities are treated equitably, free from discrimination, and that they and their families have access to the services and resources that they need.”

As WTIF reported, in announcing their proposal, Pennsylvania Republicans invited Mikayla Holmgren, a Minnesota dancer and teacher’s aide who, in 2017, became the first individual with Down syndrome to compete in a state Miss USA pageant.

“When I was born six weeks early, the doctors said that I may never walk or talk,” she said at the press conference. “I proved them wrong.”

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