Ohio is one step closer to preventing Down syndrome-related abortions.
The Ohio State Senate on Wednesday passed a bill that would mete out penalties to doctors who will perform abortions if the abortion is chosen “in whole or in part” because the unborn baby has received a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome.
The bill if it becomes a law would charge doctors with a fourth-degree felony should they perform an abortion that is wholly or partly motivated by Down syndrome. There is also the possibility that the physicians’ medical license would be revoked. Mothers, on the other hand, would not face charges under the proposed law.
The bill passed the Senate 20-12, will now be forwarded to Ohio Governor John Kasich. The governor will have 10 days to sign the bill into law. The prospects for the bill getting signed are bright since no less than the governor’s office noted that Kasich described the measure as “appropriate.” There is no confirmation yet, however, that indeed the bill will be signed into law.
Proponents of the bill remain optimistic that they have the support of the Republican governor going by his track record of having passed over a dozen laws which have limited abortion protections or funding in the past six years.
Down syndrome is a genetic disorder caused when a person’s DNA contains an extra full or partial copy of chromosome 21. Th Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Down syndrome is a relatively common genetic disorder affecting around one in 700 babies born in the U.S.
Modern resources and healthcare have allowed the life expectancy for people with Down syndrome to rise significantly in recent decades. In fact, a 2011 study found that people with Down syndrome report high levels of happiness and personal satisfaction, along with their siblings and other family members.
The alarming thing is there’s also a 2012 study that shows 75 percent of women who are pregnant with a child who has received a Down syndrome diagnosis will abort the pregnancy.
Pro-abortion believers expectedly opposed the measure and even wore “Stop the Bans” shirts during the vote on Wednesday. The ACLU is also expected to lodge legal challenges to the law should it be signed by Kasich. ACLU has opposed the bill calling it “unconstitutional.”
The president of the pro-life group Ohio Right to Life said as he welcomed the passage of the bill: “Every Ohioan deserves the right to life, no matter how many chromosomes they have.”