Abortion on the basis of a Down’s syndrome diagnosis is now illegal in Ohio, after the Governor signed a pro-life Bill into law.
The Down Syndrome Non-Discrimination Act makes it a crime for a medical practitioner to perform an abortion on these grounds.
The action was welcomed by campaigners who say it will prevent discrimination against disabled children.
‘Lives worth living’
Mike Gonidakis, President of Ohio Right to Life, said the Act gives unborn babies diagnosed with Down syndrome “a shot at life”.
“Ohio is and will continue to be a state that sees the lives of people with Down syndrome as lives worth living, thanks to this legislation.”
“it is an issue of discrimination”
Pro-life Ohio Representative Sarah LaTourette, who introduced the Bill in November, said: “I believe that life begins at conception and that abortion should never be considered an option.”
She added that “this is not an issue about abortion; it is an issue of discrimination – discriminating against a person, not allowing them their God-given right to life, simply because they might have Down syndrome”.
Not everyone supported the anti-discrimination move. The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio had called on Governor John Kasich to veto the legislation which it called “dangerous”.
Nine in ten aborted
In Britain, unborn children diagnosed with Down’s syndrome can be aborted up to birth.
There are also concerns that new tests to more accurately diagnose the condition will lead to an increase in the number of Down’s children being aborted.
Currently, around 92 per cent of babies in England and Wales who are prenatally diagnosed with Down’s syndrome are aborted.