Lawmakers in Ohio are working on a bill that would ban abortion if prenatal diagnosis indicates Down syndrome. If approved, the state would join Indiana and North Dakota. Under this law, doctors who stop this kind of pregnancies could lose their medical license and face a fourth-degree felony.

Physicians convicted of terminating a pregnancy could be held liable for legal damages, but women would not face criminal liability.

Image credit: The Daily Signal
Image credit: The Daily Signal

About 6,000 babies in the United States are born with the abnormality every year, as reported by the National Down Syndrome Society. Caused by a chromosomal irregularity, the condition leads to an abortion rate between 67 and 85 percent, according to the latest analysis published in the journal Prenatal Diagnosis.

A sponsor of the bill, Republican Sen. Frank LaRose said GOP lawmakers had accelerated the measure after hearing about Iceland’s high rate of abortion on Down syndrome babies. At least 90 percent of women end their pregnancy in that country after a Down syndrome diagnosis. CBN reported that Iceland was about to eradicate such births. The situation is very similar in Britain, Denmark, and other European countries.

“Some of the sweetest, kindest people I know have Down syndrome,” LaRose expressed, as quoted by CBN News. “It’s just very unsettling for some of us that people in our society are going to make a decision that this life is worth something and this life is not worth something based on this genetic abnormality.”

LaRose admitted the bill could lead to a very challenging debate, but he wants to take the lead on them. Physicians groups are against the law as they claim it will hinder communication between doctors and patients. Parvaneh Nouri, a medical student at Wright State University, said the bill would put an end to the trust of patients, as CBN News reported.

A social problem rather than an actual problem

Kelly Kuhns, a 36-year-old nurse from Plain City, Ohio, testified in the state’s Legislature to support the bill. Her son was born two years ago with Down syndrome. She refused to take a Down syndrome test the first three times she got pregnant because she is against abortion in all cases. It wasn’t until her third pregnancy ended in a miscarriage that she decided to take the test with the fourth.

About 14 weeks into her pregnancy, Kuhns received a positive result for the condition, which leads to one in 700 diagnoses every year in the US. After crying for hours, she decided to have her baby even though doctors encouraged her to terminate her pregnancy.

Her son Oliver is living “a pretty normal life, ” and her family’s world is amazing with him in it, she testified. But before he was born, physicians only told her about the many anomalies he would have and the additional work he would need because of the cardiac issues and many other terrible complications.

Kuhns added that women in these cases feel like doctors give them a “death sentence.” The nurse believes abortion in Down syndrome cases is something that could target several other conditions as a consequence of societal perfectionism.

Source: CBN News