Abortion Reproductive Rights

Ohio Bill Would Ban Abortion Due to Down Syndrome Diagnosis

In the latest attempt to restrict abortion access, legislators in Ohio are proposing a bill that would prohibit doctors from performing an abortion because of a fetal diagnosis of Down Syndrome.

Photo of Ohio Governor Kasich via  Marc Nozell
Photo of Ohio Governor Kasich via Marc Nozell

The measure, HB 135, would make it a felony to perform or induce an abortion for a pregnant person who is seeking an abortion because of a prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome in the fetus.

Ohio Republican Governor John Kasich has supported various anti-abortion legislation since his election in 2010. Kasich signed a law requiring a woman seeking an abortion to have an ultrasound, and has included limitations on abortion providers’ ability to obtain transfer agreements with nearby hospitals. Kasich also signed provisions making it more difficult for family planning centers to receive funding for preventative care, such as screening for cancer or STIs.

Democratic lawmakers have asked how the state would enforce such a ban, and why decisions based on one medical condition are banned by the state but not others.

“This legislation would remove a choice from a woman who may be considering terminating a pregnancy due to a medical situation,” said Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio. “Women should be able to make these big decisions in their lives without political interference,” Copeland continued.

Ohio legislature is expected to vote on this measure this fall, where it will likely pass as the National Right to Life Committee makes up more than two thirds of both Ohio houses. Such a ban on abortion would likely be found to be in violation of the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, which protects a woman’s right to have an abortion before fetal viability.

Media Resources: RH Reality Check 5/26/15; NY Times 8/22/15; Washington Post 7/1/13; Columbus Dispatch 5/24/15;

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