Ohio Votes 20 to 12: No Targeting Down Syndrome Kids for Abortion

“The GOP-led Ohio state Senate on Wednesday passed a ban on abortions based on a diagnosis of Down syndrome, and Republican Gov. John Kasich has sent signals that he will soon sign the measure into law,” Fox News reports.

“Lawmakers voted 20-12 in favor of the ban, which would prohibit doctors from performing an abortion if doctors know that it is being sought, ‘in whole or in part,’ to avoid a Down syndrome pregnancy.

“Doctors who violate the ban would lose their medical license and face a fourth-degree felony charge, including up to a $5,000 fine and 18 months in prison. Mothers would not be punished by the law.”

Ohio’s law, and to an extent the United States as a whole, stand in strong contrast to some other countries’ policies and practices. Earlier this year, CBS reported that Down syndrome has almost entirely disappeared from Iceland’s population due to the abortion of pre-born children who receive the diagnosis. In Denmark, there are reports that only 4 children with Down syndrome were born last year. And in France last year, a video campaign suggesting parents ought not to fear a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome was censored by the French government.

This past October, before the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, Frank Stephens gave a powerful and widely-shared statement on the value of his life as a man with Down syndrome, and called for greater scientific research on the condition.