Today, an Ohio legislative state committee held a hearing on a piece of legislation that would ban abortions being performed on infants specifically diagnosed with Down Syndrome while in their mother’s womb.
The legislation is House Bill 214 and was heard by the Ohio House Health Committee.
Paula Westwood, Executive Director, Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati is urging the support of the legislation. Every child deserves legal protections just as any other individual, but those who are the most vulnerable naturally need the most protection. No child deserves to be killed simply because they are unwanted for being diagnosed as potentially “abnormal.”
Prenatal testing for Down Syndrome is not even completely reliable.
A recent study out of the University of Cambridge documents Early stage embryos with abnormalities may still develop into healthy babies. The study found:
Abnormal cells in the early embryo are not necessarily a sign that a baby will be born with a birth defect such as Down’s syndrome, suggests new research carried out in mice at the University of Cambridge. In a study published … in the journal Nature Communications, scientists show that abnormal cells are eliminated and replaced by healthy cells, repairing – and in some cases completely fixing – the embryo.
Tragically, many women and families make the decision to abort their child based off of a prediction that their baby has Down Syndrome.
“Pregnant women are routinely advised to undergo prenatal testing,” said Westwood, according to LifeSite News. “Sadly, many women often end the lives of their unborn babies due to a Down Syndrome, other chromosomal variation, or disability prediction, which may or may not be true. Doctors would do well to encourage all women to carry their children to term, and for them and all of us to welcome the diversity any child of any ability brings.”
A study published in 2015 found that “abortion after prenatal diagnosis has reduced the population of individuals living with Down Syndrome in the U.S. by approximately 30%,” according to the Charlotte Lozier Institute. The percentage of women who abort following a prenatal diagnosis is much higher. The percentage above reflects the overall reduction in the Down Syndrome population, and takes into consideration total Down Syndrome pregnancies, whether prenatally diagnosed or not.
“Whatever the statistical realities may be, the number of those who choose abortion after a prenatal diagnosis is far too high. It should be none. To paraphrase the recently deceased disabilities rights activist, Dr. Adrienne Asch, the only thing prenatal diagnosis can provide is a first impression of who a child will be. Making such a radical decision as to end the life of a child based upon a first impression is a most horrible and violent form of discrimination. It has no place in an American society that is committed to ending discrimination in any form…”
North Dakota was the first state in the United States to ban abortions on babies diagnosed with Down Syndrome, doing so in 2013.
Every life has value no matter the circumstances or stage. House Bill 214 seeks to emphasize that fact.