UPDATE, 3/26/21: Governor Kristi Noem has signed HB 111o into law, as reported by KTIV.
3/8/21: The Down syndrome abortion ban proposed by South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem earlier this year has successfully made its way through the state legislature and is now awaiting Noem’s signature to become law.
House Bill 1110 would make it illegal for any doctor to commit an abortion knowing that the reason for it is based solely on a preborn child’s diagnosis of Down syndrome. Women would face no penalties, and there are exceptions if the abortion is deemed “necessary” to save the life of the mother.
Noem originally proposed the ban during this year’s State of the State address, and also appeared on Fox & Friends with Rachel Campos-Duffy, former Wisconsin GOP Rep. Sean Duffy, and their daughter Valentina, who has Down syndrome. Noem said children like Valentina have a right to live, just like everyone else. “I think little Valentina, right here — her little face shows what a blessing that she is to this family; they are going to talk to the people of South Dakota and legislators how important that bill is,” she said during the Fox & Friends interview.
Citing the high abortion rates of children with Down syndrome around the world, Noem argued that the same cannot be allowed to happen in the United States:
As South Dakotans — frankly, as human beings — we should all be appalled by this. We are better than that.
The Declaration of Independence summarizes what we all know in our hearts to be true. God created each of us and endowed all of us with the right to life. This is true for everyone, including those with an extra chromosome.
I look forward to the day when the Supreme Court recognizes that all preborn children inherently possess this right to life, too. Until that time comes, I am asking the South Dakota legislature to pass a law that bans the abortion of a preborn child, just because that child is diagnosed with Down syndrome.
Now, less than two months later, the bill Noem proposed merely awaits her signature. It was able to advance despite Planned Parenthood’s strident opposition. Kristin Hayward, manager of advocacy for Planned Parenthood Action Fund in South Dakota, argued that the bill somehow impedes good health care, arguing, “The bills go against the recommendations of medical experts and are another example of lawmakers politicizing reproductive health care and inappropriately intruding upon the vital patient-physician relationship.” She further claimed that restrictions placed on abortion endanger women’s lives.
It appears South Dakota lawmakers were unswayed by the pro-abortion rhetoric. One of the people who argued in favor of the bill was Katie Shaw, who has Down syndrome. “Help those with Down syndrome have a chance,” she told the House State Affairs committee. “Make the world more wonderful.”
While Noem has not said when she intends to sign the bill, it is expected that she will do so promptly.
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