Ohio Statehouse Approves Down Syndrome Abortion Ban

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State lawmakers have passed a ban on abortions based on a Down syndrome diagnosis. Gov. John Kasich is expected to sign the bill into law.

Ohio would follow legislative luminaries like Indiana and North Dakota in advancing this cause. (A federal judge blocked Indiana's law, and an appeal remains pending.)

The Ohio bill would make it a fourth-degree felony to perform an abortion in cases of Down syndrome. A physician's medical board licensure would be revoked. Mothers would not be charged with any crime in these cases.

“Every Ohioan deserves the right to life, no matter how many chromosomes they have,” said Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, in praise of this bill.

The Cincinnati Enquirer provided a vital glimpse into the Down syndrome abortion ban debate:

Winton Hills' Anne Chasser told lawmakers she can't imagine life without her younger brother, Christopher, who has Down syndrome. Their family recently celebrated Christopher's 50th birthday with a big reunion near Lake Erie.

But Chasser, who previously worked as the University of Cincinnati's intellectual property leader and commissioner of trademarks in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Washington, D.C., doesn't think state legislators should prohibit abortions based on the diagnosis.

"I believe that a pregnant woman must have the right to choose what is best for her and her family," Chasser told lawmakers at a hearing last month. "This decision should not be made by the government."

With a 20-12 vote, though, the Ohio state government has insisted that it wants to be part of that decision.

It's nothing new from a Republican-led Statehouse that has approved more than a dozen abortion restrictions with Kasich's signature. Nonetheless, here's State Rep. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) offering an argument that can't seem to find any traction in Columbus these days.




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