Ohio Legislature Passes Bill That Criminalizes Down-Syndrome Abortions

NBC4 WCMH-TV Columbus / YouTube

The Ohio Senate has passed a bill that criminalizes the abortion of fetuses with down-syndrome.

The Ohio Senate has passed a bill that criminalizes the abortion of fetuses with down-syndrome. The bill has already passed Ohio's general assembly. Gov. John Kasich has indicated that he will first study the bill prior to signing it. Kasich has signed 18 anti-choice bills into law since 2011.

The bill makes it illegal for a doctor to perform an abortion knowing the fetus has been diagnosed with or is likely to have Down syndrome from a prenatal test. Doing so would be a fourth-degree felony, punishable with up to 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine. Women who have abortions in violation of the law would face no penalties.

Other states have enacted laws similar to the bill being passed by the Ohio legislature.

Similar laws have been passed in North Dakota, Indiana and Louisiana. An Indiana judge found the law there unconstitutional because it restricts women's right to an abortion before the pregnancy is viable.

The ACLU asserts that the new bill does nothing to protect people with disabilities. In addition, they claim that the bill prevents women from making their own reproductive choices.

"This bill does nothing to improve the lives of people with disabilities, nor 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," Gary Daniels, chief lobbyist for the ACLU of Ohio, said in a statement. "It only further restricts a woman's ability to make a decision about ending a pregnancy."

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