The state legislature in Ohio are set to approve a bill that would bar women from getting abortions solely because they do not wish to have a baby with Down syndrome and send it to the Governor.
"We all want to be born perfect, but none of us are, and everyone has a right to live, perfect or not," says Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, which lobbied for the bill. "Pretty soon, we're going to find the gene for autism. Are we going to abort for that, too?"
An article in Prenatal Diagnosis
says that fetuses diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted between 60% and 90% of the time.
But the bill violates Roe v Wade, a landmark decision taken by the United States Supreme Court on the issue of abortion. And gets closer to seeing the fetus as a person with its own rights.
An Ohio legislator who supports the bill says that "this isn't an issue about abortion—it's an issue of discrimination" against people with Down syndrome. Doubts of whether such a law can be enforced has risen among some critics and note that a 2013 North Dakota law banning abortion in all cases of fetal genetic problems (including Down syndrome) has led to no prosecutions. Others say that no law can apply fairly to all family situations and medical diagnoses.
Similar legislation failed to pass last year in South Dakota, Indiana, and Missouri a few months ago, but seven states do prohibit abortion over gender selection.