Ohio House votes to ban abortions once Down syndrome diagnosis made


Doctors who perform abortions for women who want to terminate their pregnancies because Down syndrome has been diagnosed could face criminal prosecution and license revocation, under a House bill approved 63-30 on Wednesday.

The vote came after emotional testimony from lawmakers who oppose abortion as well as those who support abortion rights.

Terminating a pregnancy based on a Down syndrome diagnosis is discriminatory and just because they have a genetic condition does not make them less worthy of life, said state Rep. Derek Merrin, R-Monclova Twp., the bill sponsor.

State Rep. Stephanie Howse, D-Cleveland, whose 3-year-old son has Down syndrome, accused her colleagues of politicizing children with genetic conditions. She suggested that if lawmakers really care about children with special needs, they should provide more funding for special education and help families acquire supplemental health insurance.

The bill advances to the Ohio Senate, where a similar measure is pending.

House Bill 214 is supported by Ohio Right to Life and opposed by NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio. If it becomes law it would:

• Ban abortions once testing indicates the fetus has Down syndrome;

• Require the State Medical Board to revoke a physician’s license if the doctor violates the prohibition;

• Give the woman criminal immunity if she undergoes an abortion;

• Permits lawmakers who sponsored the bill to intervene in any legal challenge to the constitutionality of the bill.

RELATED: Kasich vetoes Heartbeat bill

Down syndrome is a chromosome disorder in which extra genetic material changes the course of develoment. Common traits of Down syndrome are low muscle tone, small stature, an upward slant to the eyes and a single deep crease across the center of the palm, according to the National Down Syndrome Society. About 6,000 babies with Down syndrome are born each year in the United States.

The House Health Committee also held a hearing Wednesday on the latest version of the “heartbeat bill,” which would ban abortions once a heartbeat can be detected. Typically, a heartbeat can be detected about six weeks into a pregnancy.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Politics

Find out where Centerville will spend more than $4M to fix streets
Find out where Centerville will spend more than $4M to fix streets

Centerville will move ahead with plans to improve its infrastructure, using funding from its annual street program budget to repair more than 20 of the possible 256 total lane miles in the community. After an income tax levy passed in 2016, the city council added money to the annual street program budget, Maureen Russell Hodgson of the community resources...
Kris Kobach, once the face of Trump’s voter fraud panel, is held in contempt
Kris Kobach, once the face of Trump’s voter fraud panel, is held in contempt

Kris W. Kobach, the secretary of state of Kansas and face of the Trump administration’s efforts to clamp down on supposed voter fraud, was found by a federal judge on Wednesday to have disobeyed orders to notify thousands of Kansans in 2016 that they were registered to vote.  Kobach, who served last year as the vice chairman of the Trump...
Across Midwest, farmers warn of GOP losses over Trump’s trade policy
Across Midwest, farmers warn of GOP losses over Trump’s trade policy

Here in the largest soybean-producing county in the country, a snowy winter has left North Dakota farmers like Robert Runck with time on their hands before spring planting — time they have spent stewing over how much they stand to lose if President Donald Trump starts a trade war with China.  “If he doesn’t understand what he&rsquo...
Judge in Michael Cohen case described as no-nonsense, ‘judicial equivalent of Teddy Roosevelt’
Judge in Michael Cohen case described as no-nonsense, ‘judicial equivalent of Teddy Roosevelt’

 Judge Kimba M. Wood had barely finished a hearing this week that involved both Michael D. Cohen, President Donald Trump’s lawyer, and — in a stunning revelation — Fox News host Sean Hannity, when the right-wing media machine started going after her.  InfoWars, the conspiracy theory website run by Alex Jones, posted an article...
Abortion wars are heating up ahead of November elections
Abortion wars are heating up ahead of November elections

Mississippi's governor just signed a law, more restrictive than in any state, banning abortions after 15 weeks. Iowa's state Senate is trying to go even further and stop abortions at around six weeks. And 20 Ohio legislators have proposed outlawing all abortions, even if the woman's life is in danger.  In many state capitols, Republican lawmakers...
More Stories