U.S. senators introduce federal bill to ban Down syndrome abortions

down syndrome, abortions

Preborn babies with Down syndrome might be protected from eugenic abortions if a new federal bill passes. U.S. Senators James Lankford and Jim Inhofe, both from Oklahoma, have introduced the Down Syndrome Discrimination by Abortion Prohibition Act, which would make it illegal to target a preborn baby for abortion solely because of a diagnosis of Down syndrome.

“Every life has value and that extends to the unborn,” Inhofe said in a press release. “To take away the precious life of an unborn baby is murder, but to deny a child the chance at life because of his or her chromosome count is a heinous effort to eliminate a vibrant community through abortion.”

Lankford likewise agreed that he felt driven to co-sponsor the bill so people would not be discriminated against and marked for death solely because of a disability. “If you’ve ever met someone or have a family member with Down syndrome, you know they are joyous, wonderful people who deserve as much out of life as any other person,” he said in a statement, adding, “God has a plan for every life, and we should honor that plan by working together as a nation to ensure each child and his or her family have access to the resources they need to succeed regardless of whether or not a child has an extra chromosome.”

READ: Woman wins ‘wrongful birth’ lawsuit, says would have aborted her son with Down syndrome

The release notes:

Sponsors of the bill include Sens. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), James Risch (R-I.D.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.).


Numerous states have passed Down syndrome abortion bans, although some of them have been overturned, like Ohio’s. This bill would put a federal ban into place, as opposed to leaving it a state-by-state issue. Statistics show why these bills are needed so badly. Roughly 67% of preborn children with a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome are aborted in the U.S., and in other countries around the world, the numbers are even higher. In countries like Iceland and Denmark, virtually every child diagnosed prenatally with Down syndrome is aborted. Wrongful birth suits, in which angry parents sue doctors for not detecting Down syndrome before the baby is born so they have the option to abort are likewise on the rise.

It’s not clear what the chances of this bill’s passage are, but children do not deserve to be killed simply because they have an extra chromosome. As Karen Gaffney, who has Down syndrome, has said, “Ending the life of an unborn child because he or she will have a disability is wrong, it is very, very wrong…. This view is unjust, tragic, and deserving of international outrage. It has no place in a world that stands for basic human rights.”

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