The Ohio legislature is reviewing legislation that would not allow a woman to terminate her pregnancy if her baby was diagnosed with Down Syndrome.
Republican State Rep. Sarah LaTourette, who sponsored the legislation in her chamber, believed that the proposal was not about restricting a woman’s right to choose to abort her baby, but rather combating long-held discriminatory views of those with special needs.
“I hope that you can see that this isn’t an issue about abortion; it’s an issue of discrimination — discriminating against a person, not allowing them their God-given right to life, simply because they might have Down syndrome,” LaTourette said.
Not everyone is viewing the legislation as anything but an abortion issue, including Kellie Copeland, the executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio.
“This legislation would remove a choice from a woman who may be considering terminating a pregnancy due to a medical situation,” Copeland said. “Women should be able to make these big decisions in their lives without political interference.”
Studies have varied over the years on the rate of abortions in relation to a diagnosis of Down syndrome. The Lozier Institute conducted a study earlier this year that showed nearly 30 percent of pregnancies where the fetus was diagnosed with Down syndrome were terminated since 1986. In 2012, another study stated the figure to fall between 50 to 85 percent, Inquisitr reported.
When the legislation was first introduced in February 2015, Ohio became the fifth state in the nation to consider any type of ban based on a diagnosis. According to Cleveland.com, North Dakota is the only state with a ban similar to the one Ohio is considering. Indiana, South Dakota and Missouri all previously failed to institute any legislation on the issue.
The proposed legislation, formally known as HB 135, would not impose criminal penalties on women who choose to go through with an abortion, but would punish doctors who perform the procedure.
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