The Pennsylvania House passed a measure Monday that would prohibit abortions based on a diagnosis of Down syndrome, sending it to the state Senate. The Republican-majority chamber voted 139-56, with bipartisan support.
The measure bans abortions in the state if sought solely based on prenatal diagnoses of “or belief that the unborn child has, Down syndrome.” House Speaker Mike Turzai, who is championing what he calls “disability rights” legislation, notes that the bill addresses the critical issue of discrimination against preborn children with the condition.
“How many of us could have been eliminated through abortion because…some segment of the world doesn’t think we’re good enough? Who are these people to be so judgmental?” Turzai said.
Turzai said he was “appalled” after reading reports pertaining to prenatal diagnoses of Down syndrome in Iceland. The country currently has an almost 100 percent abortion rate on babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in utero.
Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, said he’s opposed to such legislation. Although the measure easily passed the House, it faces an uncertain future in the Senate.
Tragically, roughly 67 percent of children diagnosed with Down syndrome in the womb are aborted in the United States. Several states have voted to protect preborn children with the condition, and many mothers have spoken out, urging all states to pass similar legislation.
Courtney Baker, a mother who was repeatedly pressured by her doctor to abort her baby with Down syndrome, said she was told her baby would have a poor quality of life. Now, Baker is an advocate for children like her daughter, Emersyn, who are showing the world the dignity of every human life.
“I don’t want a world without children with Down syndrome,” Baker said. “I don’t want us to go down that road that other countries are going to. They’re missing it.”