Wednesday is World Down Syndrome Day and the world is aborting Down syndrome babies at an extremely high rate following the advancement of prenatal screening, despite national headlines on bans intended to protect babies born with the congenital disorder.
World syndrome Day has been officially recognized by the United Nations since 2012 and is celebrated around the world as a day to raise awareness about the value of Down syndrome persons to society.
Down syndrome is more common than any other chromosomal disorder, and roughly 6,000 babies are born with Down syndrome every year in the U.S., according to the Center For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Older mothers are much more likely to give birth to babies with the disorder, the CDC noted.
— March for Life (@March_for_Life) March 21, 2018
People with Down syndrome live to be roughly 47 years old and approximately 50 percent of all babies born with the disorder also have a congenital heart defect, the CDC also reported.
Despite a sizable number of young adults living with the disorder, many countries have encouraged mothers to abort their unborn baby if tests show the child will be born with the disorder. France had a 77 percent termination rate and Denmark had a 98 percent termination rate for unborn Down syndrome babies as of 2015.
Ninety percent of pregnant women who receive a test showing their unborn child will have Down syndrome abort their child in the United Kingdom, according to the British Broadcasting Corporation. (RELATED: CBS Says Down Syndrome Is Disappearing In Iceland, But Here’s What’s Really Happening)
However, moves to protect babies with Down syndrome have been accelerating within the U.S. The Gerber Baby company chose a child with Down syndrome as the new face for its 2018 campaign, according to TODAY. The move inspired a number of states to create, push or pass legislation protecting unborn babies who will be born with Down syndrome. (RELATED: Gerber Baby Campaign Marks Historic First With Down Syndrome Cover Child)
Down syndrome abortion bans have been introduced in Oklahoma, Missouri, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania and Ohio bans doctors from aborting babies who test positive for Down syndrome.
Ohio’s law penalizes doctors who perform abortions on pregnant women with a positive test that their baby will have Down syndrome, but it does not fine or punish a woman who aborts her baby after receiving a positive test for the congenital disorder. Any doctor who performs an abortion on an unborn Down syndrome child will receive a fourth-degree felony charge under the law, The Associated Press reported.
Ohio’s ban and other proposed bans have received significant backlash from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other groups. “It’s ironic that those who claim they believe in limited government are once again choosing to insert themselves in a relationship that is sacred between that practitioner and their patient,” Ohio state Sen. Charleta Tavares, a Democrat, said regarding its Down syndrome abortion law, according to Cleveland.com. (RELATED: Now Utah Is Cutting A Path To Ban Down Syndrome Abortions)
Utah lawmakers are considering HB205, the Down Syndrome Nondiscrimination Abortion Act. This legislation intends to send a message of non-discrimination, according to the measure’s sponsor state Rep. Karianne Lisonbee. The Republican lawmaker claims it will prevent eugenic-like tendencies, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.
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