Ohio Senate Passes Bill To Ban Down Syndrome Abortion

David Krayden | Ottawa Bureau Chief

Ohio is on the verge of banning Down syndrome abortions after the state Senate passed the necessary legislation Wednesday night.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich is expected to support the bill and sign it into law, Fox News reports.

The vote was 20-12 in favor of a bill that would prohibit women having abortions based on a fetal diagnosis of Down syndrome, a genetically-based disease. Doctors would be banned from providing abortions if they know “in whole or in part” that an abortion is being requested because the baby is expected to be born with Down syndrome.

Republican Sen. Frank LaRose, who sponsored the bill, told Cleveland.com, “We should not be making a judgment of one life being more valuable than another. To me, it’s a question of medical ethics.”

Ohio’s pro-life advocates were rejoicing. The legislation was actively supported by Ohio Right to Life, who declared victory.

“Both the House and the Senate sent a loud message that we are a society built on compassion, love, equality,” said president Mike Gonidakis. “We expect Governor Kasich will sign this legislation, as he said he would in 2015. Every Ohioan deserves the right to life, no matter how many chromosomes they have.”

Doctors who break the proposed law would be stripped of their medical licenses and charged with a felony violation that could mean a $5,000 fine and 18 months jail time.

Only three Republicans did not support the bill while every one of the Democrats voted against it.

Some advocates of the disabled feared it would create a special status for Down syndrome.

“This bill sends a very clear message, that some disabilities are more worthy of life than others and that one disability — Down syndrome — is the most worthy,” Jane Gerhardt, who has a daughter with Down syndrome, testified Tuesday.

The American Civil Liberties Union has also targeted the legislation as an attack on abortion rights in general.

Although Kasich’s spokesman would neither confirm nor deny the governor’s intentions for the bill, Kasich has called the bill “appropriate” and promised to give it his full attention.

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