NRL News

Down Syndrome Non-Discrimination Act Introduced in Ohio House

by | Mar 25, 2015

Groundbreaking Legislation to Prohibit Abortions Based on Diagnosis of Down Syndrome

girlthumbsupreCOLUMBUS, Ohio–Today, Ohio Right to Life’s Down Syndrome Non-Discrimination Act (H.B. 135) was introduced in the Ohio House of Representatives. The legislation, sponsored by Representatives Sarah LaTourrette and David Hall, could make Ohio the first in the nation to prohibit abortions from taking place on the basis of a Down syndrome diagnosis. Multiple studies demonstrate that upwards of 90 percent of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted. Sixteen legislators signed on as co-sponsors of the bill.

“More and more, it seems that society is rejecting discrimination in favor of diversity, empathy, and understanding for the most vulnerable and marginalized members of our communities,” said Stephanie Ranade Krider, executive director of Ohio Right to Life. “It makes sense that we would apply that practice across the whole spectrum of life, to protect some of the most vulnerable of the vulnerable, starting in the womb.”

With the introduction of this legislation, Ohio Right to Life aims to educate the state about the high rate of abortions performed on babies diagnosed with Down syndrome while highlighting the positive impact that people with Down syndrome have on their families. In 2011, the American Journal of Medical Genetics ran a three-part series on the impact children with Down syndrome have on families. Nearly 99 percent of people with Down syndrome indicated that they were happy with their lives, 97 percent liked who they were, and 96 percent liked how they looked.

Additionally, more than 96 percent of brothers/sisters indicated that they had affection toward their sibling with Down syndrome. Of over 2,000 parents who responded to the survey, 99 percent reported that they loved their son or daughter and 97 percent were proud of them.

“Sadly, many women turn to abortion when they discover their unborn child might have Down syndrome,” said Rep. Sarah LaTourrette. “Having worked in the adoption field, I know firsthand that there are plenty of alternatives to abortion that respect the value of life. I am proud to introduce legislation that will end this horrific form of discrimination. This is a small step in ensuring the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all individuals – not just the ‘perfect’ or the born.”

“Terminating the life of an unborn child diagnosed with Down syndrome is both eugenic and a form of disability discrimination,” said Dorinda Bordlee, Chief Counsel of Bioethics Defense Fund. “Nothing in the U.S. Supreme Court abortion jurisprudence protects these practices that devalue the lives of all persons living with Down syndrome.”