The American Civil Liberties Union is working on behalf of abortion clinics across the state of Ohio to strike down a new state law before it goes into effect. This law would prevent abortions that are solely based on the diagnosis of Down syndrome.
Governor John Kasich signed the law in December, and it is scheduled to take effect on March 23rd, 2018. This law will make it a felony for a doctor to perform an abortion if they are aware that the mother is only seeking an abortion because her unborn baby has been diagnosed with Down syndrome. Doctors who do this will not only face a felony charge but will also lose their medical license.
The signing of the bill into law sparked controversy immediately. “When a woman receives a diagnosis of Down syndrome during her pregnancy, the last thing she needs is Governor Kasich barging in to tell her what’s best for her family,” lamented Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, after the signing.
Pro-lifers rejoiced at the creation of such a law. Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, supported the new law, arguing, “Every Ohioan deserves the right to life, no matter how many chromosomes they have.”
With the time ticking away until abortions start to be impacted in Ohio, the ACLU filed a civil lawsuit this past week in an effort to keep the law from being implemented. The suit was filed on behalf of various abortion providers around the state and argues that this new law violates a woman’s right to an abortion and to privacy.
“Banning a woman from having an abortion because of a fetal diagnosis is not only unconstitutional, it also does absolutely nothing to address discrimination against people with disabilities,” stated Freda Levenson, legal director for the ACLU of Ohio.
Levenson has referred to the bill as a thinly veiled attempt to ban abortion in the state of Ohio. “If Ohio politicians wanted to proactively take a stance for people with disabilities, they should improve access to health care, education, or other services,” she concluded.
But Ohio Right To Life, one of the groups that played a key role in getting the law passed in the first place, responded: “While elective abortion is never the right choice, it’s particularly egregious that unborn children can be denied life simply due to the presence of a disability.”
The organizations represented in the lawsuit are Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio, Preterm, Dr. Roslyn Kade and the Women’s Medical Group Professional Corporation.
Photo credit: American Life League