Politics & Policy

Ohio Is Right to Ban the Abortion of Babies with Down Syndrome

(Reuters file photo: Jonathan Bachman)
The abortion lobby’s howls of protest in response reveal the sinister roots of its ideology.

It’s no secret that the pro-abortion-rights movement is founded on a total disregard for vulnerable human life. But beneath the rhetoric about women’s choice and bodily autonomy lurks an even more sinister reality: Fervent support for abortion requires support for the targeted extermination of unborn children with genetic abnormalities.

Major abortion-rights groups are outraged over an Ohio bill passed last week, which bans the selective abortion of unborn children diagnosed with Down syndrome, and their reasons for opposing the legislation are predictably hollow.

“This bill prevents a woman from having honest conversations about her options with her physician following a complicated medical diagnosis,” NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio executive director Kellie Copeland explained. “This legislation callously disregards the unique circumstances that surround each woman’s pregnancy,” Copeland’s deputy, Jamie Miracle, added.

Planned Parenthood Ohio has campaigned vigorously against the bill, too. A Planned Parenthood release about Missouri’s own Down-syndrome abortion ban read: “Abortion is a deeply personal and often complex decision that must be left to women, in consultation with their families, faith, and health care providers.”

The Center for Reproductive Rights called Ohio’s bill “a dangerous attempt by anti-choice politicians to pit the disability rights community against the reproductive rights community.” The ACLU of Ohio, meanwhile, believes the law is unconstitutional, and argues that it “does nothing to improve the lives of people with disabilities, nor does it increase their access to health care or other services, nor does it educate a woman and her family about having a child with a disability.”

The logical endpoint of this platitudinous nonsense is that only the systematic elimination of children with Down syndrome will “improve the lives of people with disabilities” and do justice to women.

The core of the Democratic party appears ready to fall in line with this radical stance. Bernie Sanders was one of the first senators to introduce the federal Freedom of Choice Act, which would invalidate every abortion restriction in the entire nation. Hillary Clinton has unequivocally denounced bans on abortion of children with genetic abnormalities. In one of last year’s general-election debates, Clinton defended late-term and partial-birth abortions, claiming these procedures are sometimes medically necessary: “I have met with women who toward the end of their pregnancy get the worst news one could get . . . that something terrible has  . . . just been discovered about the pregnancy.” Of course, no child has a health condition that would be cured by death moments before birth. Clinton meant that the unborn child might have a condition such as Down syndrome or another disability that would, in her twisted view, make death preferable to a life of suffering.

How impoverished must we be to believe that no life at all is better than a life touched by suffering?

This heinous attitude is everywhere. In August, news outlets praised Iceland for “eradicating Down syndrome births,” as if the country had pioneered a cure for the disorder. Iceland’s actual “solution” was using prenatal testing and abortion to systematically exterminate children diagnosed with Down syndrome. Iceland’s government didn’t impose this regime, of course; Icelandic parents opted in. But what kind of culture does it take for a country to produce just two children with Down syndrome each year, and a continent where such grossly high termination rates are common? And what does it say about Western society that we hail these statistics as evidence of progress?

Consider France, where the State Council last year banned an advertisement featuring children with Down syndrome talking about their happy lives, meant to comfort mothers who received a prenatal diagnosis. The government forbade the ad because the children’s smiles would “disturb the conscience of women who had lawfully made different personal life choices” — seeing their joy would upset women who had aborted their Down syndrome children.

Surely many parents choose abortion after receiving a Down-syndrome diagnosis because they, like Clinton, believe it to be more compassionate. Such a view might be understandable on its face. But how impoverished must we be to believe that no life at all is better than a life touched by suffering?

This mindset is the fruit of a culture that fails at every level to comprehend the dignity and value of each human child, regardless of how many chromosomes he or she possesses. It’s a failure due at least in part to the fact that the abortion-rights movement — too often abetted by the media and the government — intentionally obscures the truth. They whitewash ads that don’t suit their agenda. They praise Iceland for making “medical advancements.” They assail legislative attempts to protect the disabled and the weak. 

Ohio must stand firm in championing this bill, as should anyone who values innocent life as a good in itself. If we do not, the loudest pro-abortion voices will continue making our country more like those European countries where children with Down syndrome are airbrushed away for good.

READ MORE:

Why Abortion is Wrong Even If the Fetus Is Not a Person

The ACLU Continues to Demand Abortions for Illegal Immigrant Minors

Pro-Choice Movement Cheers Illegal Immigrant Minor’s Abortion

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