Judge Bars Ohio from Enforcing Down Syndrome Abortion Ban

October 15, 2019

by Kelvey Vander Hart


A federal appeals court ruled on Friday that Ohio will not be allowed to enforce a 2017 law that bans abortion of unborn children that test positive for Down syndrome.

Signed into law in December 2017 by Republican Governor John Kasich, House Bill 214 (the Down Syndrome Non-Discrimination Act) would have revised the Ohio code “to prohibit a person from performing, inducing, or attempting to perform or induce an abortion on a pregnant woman who is seeking the abortion because an unborn child has or may have Down Syndrome.”

Immediately after the passage of the bill, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Planned Parenthood, and the Cleveland abortion group Preterm filed a lawsuit to prevent the law from going into effect. They were awarded a preliminary injunction in March 2018.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati has now upheld this injunction. The decision argued that the law itself was invalid due to Supreme Court precedent. It was a 2-1 decision, with Circuit Judge Bernice Bouie Donald writing that upholding the injunction would ensure “access to constitutionally protected health care services.”

Stephanie Ranade Krider, vice president of Ohio Right to Life, responded to the decision:

Unborn persons with Down Syndrome deserve the same protections afforded to those already born through the Americans with Disabilities Act. While we are obviously saddened by the decision of the Court, this serves to show the moral contradictions and outright discrimination imposed by abortion jurisprudence that sorely need to be settled. We urge the attorney general to request an en banc review by the 6th Circuit. We also pray that the time may come sooner than later that the U.S. Supreme Court will overturn Roe and allow states to settle in law what we already know to be true: an unborn human is as deserving of human rights as any other already born.

People with Down syndrome deserve the right to live and are perfectly capable of living happy and fulfilling lives. Yet tragically, recent data reveals that two out of three unborn babies diagnosed with Down syndrome will be aborted. This decision by the court has taken away protection from children who desperately need it.


Kelvey Vander Hart is passionate about Jesus, conservatism, fitness, and fantastic coffee; she is also the Associate Editor at Caffeinated Thoughts. She can be followed on Twitter @kovanderhart.

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