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

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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.

Originally published: December 22, 2017
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