Ohio Gov. John Kasich Signs Bill Banning Abortions of Fetuses With Down Syndrome

On Friday, Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed a bill banning abortions in cases where a fetus has been diagnosed with or is suspected to have Down syndrome. Abortion would be prohibited even if Down syndrome wasn’t the reason the parents wanted an abortion.

Under the law, aborting a fetus with Down syndrome would carry penalties for the doctor, not the parents. Doctors knowingly performing abortions on Down syndrome pregnancies would be guilty of a fourth-degree felony. If convicted, they would lose their license to practice in the state of Ohio and could be liable to a civil suit.

In November, after Ohio’s House and Senate passed the bill, the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio countered, saying they oppose the bill as it sets a precedent for politicians to interfere in the lives of women.

“The ACLU of Ohio opposes discrimination in all forms, and works to ensure that people with disabilities are treated with equality and dignity,” the ACLU said in a statement. “However, this purposely divisive legislation is about restricting abortion, not protecting against discrimination.”

The bill is in direct conflict with the Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade, which allows abortions up until a fetus can survive outside the womb.

In September, U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt prevented a similar law, which stated an abortion could not be done based on a diagnosis of fetal disability, race, color, national origin, ancestry or sex of the fetus, from going into effect in Indiana for violating the precedent set by Roe v. Wade.

If Ohio’s bill follows the same path as the one in Indiana, it will likely end up in court due to its unconstitutionality, the ACLU of Ohio said.

The law goes into effect in 90 days.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Down Syndrome

Boy with down syndrome working with speech therapist at home

My Son With Down Syndrome Is Brilliant

I was born into a family known as the “smart Harnetts.” Excellence in school was expected. Intelligence was a source of pride. And brilliance was of utmost importance. Twenty seven years later, my son Patrick was born with Down syndrome. I thought it meant he wouldn’t be brilliant. Anyone who thinks people with Down syndrome (or [...]
Colton Murray

Down Syndrome Ambassador Colton Murray Has Passed Away

Twenty-three-month-old Colton Murray, who won the hearts of those in the Down syndrome community and beyond, passed away on Saturday. Murray was an ambassador for children with Down syndrome. He appeared in the National Down Syndrome Society’s video that kicks off Down Syndrome Awareness Month in Times Square in New York City. He also appears [...]
D'Andra and friend smiling at camera

When My Daughter With Down Syndrome Told Me, 'You're Enough'

D’Andra invited 14 of her classmates, teachers and the staff to a holiday open house tonight. At 7:05 pm, it looked like no one was coming. I had baked some sugar cookies to decorate and prepared ingredients to make ornaments. “I don’t know if anyone is coming sweetheart,” I told D’Andra. I had just given [...]

5 Tips for Parents to Process Their Child’s Down Syndrome Diagnosis

I am not a “seasoned” mother. My son with Down syndrome is not quite 10 months old. I realize there is so much left for me and my family in this journey ahead. There is so much I will learn. However, I feel as though I can offer some advice for those just starting their [...]