NRL News

“Disability Abortion Ban” passes Florida House

by | Apr 23, 2021

By Dave Andrusko

By the end of Thursday, all pro-abortion amendments to Florida House Bill 1221—the “Disability Abortion Ban”–had been defeated and the House went on to vote 74 to 44 in favor. Pro-abortion Democrats and virtually the entire media establishment are banking on the Senate, which has yet to hold a committee hearing on the bill, to defeat HB 1221. 

Sponsored by state Rep. Erin Grall (R-Vero), the measure (in the antiseptic language of Herald Times reporter Kirby Wilson) “would ban a doctor from performing an abortion in an instance where they know, or ‘should know,’ a woman is seeking the procedure ‘solely on the basis of’ a disability or potential disability found in the fetus.”

Before listing a lengthy litany of pro-abortion criticisms, Wilson added 

Meanwhile, Republicans argued the state had a moral imperative to ban these procedures. Rep. Tyler Sirois, R-Merritt Island, invoked the example of the Nazis when describing the abortions being contemplated by the bills. He argued the fascist 20th century German party would have approved of “disability abortions.”

“The Nazis had a phrase for this,” Sirois said. “They called it ‘life unworthy of life.’”

According to NRLC’s Department of State Legislation, “Currently seventeen states have enacted laws protecting unborn children from discrimination based on their sex, race, and/or disability.”

Bringing “discrimination-based abortions” to great prominence is that there is now a split among Circuit Courts of Appeal, the 6th and the 8th

On April 13, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a preliminary injunction against Ohio’s Down Syndrome Non-Discrimination Act. H.B. 214 “prohibits a doctor from performing an abortion if that doctor knows that the woman’s reason for having the abortion is that she does not want a child with Down syndrome,” as explained by Judge Alice M. Batchelder in her majority opinion. Then-Gov. John Kasich signed the Act into law in 2017. 

Last January, a three judge panel of the 8th Circuit “affirmed a lower court’s order that blocked Arkansas’s law prohibiting abortions that are performed solely on the basis of Down syndrome,” as pro-life Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge wrote. AG Rutledge’s petition for a writ of certiorari asks the U.S. Supreme Court to review the 8th Circuit’s decision against Arkansas’ Act 619, the “Down Syndrome Discrimination by Abortion Prohibition Act.”

Rutledge’s introduction spells out the ethical as well as legal underpinnings of her argument:

This case is about whether the Constitution enshrines a right to have an abortion solely to avoid having a child diagnosed with Down syndrome. The majority of the panel below agreed that cannot be true, but ultimately held that this Court’s precedent said otherwise. That conclusion threatens the very existence of people with Down syndrome in this country. And it sends an unmistakable message to people with Down syndrome that the Constitution, as interpreted by this Court, is indifferent to their survival. The Court should grant certiorari and reverse the decision below.

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Categories: Legislation