Unborn children who are diagnosed with Down syndrome can often be targets for abortion. A bill recently introduced in the U.S. Senate seeks to change that, making it illegal to abort a baby solely because of such a diagnosis.
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) has introduced the Down Syndrome Discrimination by Abortion Prohibition Act, which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. The text reads:
It shall be unlawful to—perform an abortion—with the knowledge that a pregnant woman is seeking an abortion, in whole or in part, on the basis of— a test result indicating that the unborn child has Down syndrome; a prenatal diagnosis that the unborn child has Down syndrome; or any other reason to believe that the unborn child has or may have Down syndrome; or without first—asking the pregnant woman if she is aware of any test results, prenatal diagnosis, or any other evidence that the unborn child has or may have Down syndrome…
Other co-sponsors of the bill include Sens. James Lankford (R-Okla.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), James Risch (R-Idaho), 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.).
Sen. Inhofe’s office published a press release, which stated:
[M]ore and more people learn whether or not their baby has Down syndrome prior to the baby’s birth. Sadly, many of these lives are aborted following a diagnosis—over two-thirds of unborn babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted in the U.S…[this bill] would enact a federal ban on the performance of an abortion with the knowledge that a pregnant woman is seeking an abortion, in whole or in part, on the basis of a belief that her unborn child has Down syndrome.
Eight different states have enacted legislation that prohibits abortions on the basis of Down syndrome diagnosis, with several other states introducing similar legislation.
Roughly 6,000 babies are born with Down syndrome in the United States each year. This bill would protect children within this population, including the two-thirds who are statistically likely to be aborted, on a federal level.