Ohio House Committee Passes Ban On Abortion After Down Syndrome Diagnosis

Oct 26, 2017

An Ohio House committee has passed a bill that would make the state the third in the country to ban abortion after a Down Syndrome diagnosis has been made. Doctors who perform abortions after that point would be held liable and could lose their licenses to practice.

After the bill cleared the House Health Committee, Ohio Right to Life president Mike Gonadakis praised the committee’s vote.

“The government spoke loudly today that we are going to stop discriminating against people with disabilities,” Gonadakis said.

Advocates of the measure contend terminating pregnancies in such cases is a form of discrimination stemming from misinformation and society's growing perfectionism. Pregnant women would face no criminal liability under the bill.

After that vote, opponents of the bill went to the Speaker’s office and unfurled large banners made from petitions signed by more than 2,000 people against the legislation. NARAL ProChoice Ohio and Planned Parenthood argue the bill is part of a broader effort to restrict women's access to legal abortions.

NARAL ProChoice Ohio’s Jaime Miracle says the legislature needs to focus its efforts differently.

“It should be making sure that these families have access to the health care services they need when facing a diagnosis like Down Syndrome during pregnancy or any other diagnosis,” Miracle said.

A federal court recently struck down a similar law in Indiana that included additional provisions. This bill now goes to the full House for consideration.

After Gov. John Kasich last year approved a ban on abortions after 20 weeks, the Ohio Statehouse took up several more abortion restriction proposals, including the controversial Heartbeat Bill - which Kasich previously vetoed - and a ban on a common abortion procedure.