HB205: Down Syndrome Nondiscrimination Abortion Act
Official Bill: https://le.utah.gov/~2018/bills/static/HB0205.html
Bill Outline: This bill bans abortions based on a possible pre-diagnosis or diagnosis of Down Syndrome.
HB205 will be heard in the Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement, and Criminal Justice Committee on MONDAY Feb 26th at 4 PM in Room 250 at the State Capitol building! Please write/call committee members in SUPPORT of HB205 and urge them to vote YES! Please plan to attend the committee meeting. We need to fill the room with supporters!
(Parking map: https://utahstatecapitol.utah.gov/wp-content/uploads/capitolhillcomplex2014.pdf State Capitol building 2nd Floor map: https://utahstatecapitol.utah.gov/wp-content/uploads/Floor-2-smaller-file-size.pdf)
Governor Herbert recently said in the press that he thinks changes need to be made to HB205. If any changes are made, it could render the bill meaningless. The governor has the power to veto a bill if it is passed. Please contact Governor Herbert ASAP and urge him to support HB205 as it is currently written. We must stand for Down Syndrome babies because they cannot speak for themselves. If this bill is challenged in court, we can face that challenge if it comes. Some things are worth fighting for!
Please CALL (most effective): 800-705-2464 (ask to be transferred to the constituent line where you can leave a message with your full opinion)
And WRITE: https://www.utah.gov/governor/contact/
TIPS ON HOW TO COMMUNICATE EFFECTIVELY WITH LEGISLATORS
To listen to the House Committee Hearing (on Jan 25th), click the Hearing/Debate tab at this link and click "Audio" underneath Committee Report: https://le.utah.gov/~2018/bills/static/HB0205.html
To watch the debate on the House Floor (on Feb 5th), click this link: http://utahlegislature.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?clip_id=22374&meta_id=800424
Why This Bill? A Down Syndrome diagnosis shouldn’t be a death sentence. Selective abortion, for any reason, is the very definition of eugenics. History warns us that this is a very dangerous road to take. Recent news out of Iceland and Denmark regarding the eradication of Down Syndrome, or rather the eradication of people with Down Syndrome via abortion should give all of us nightmares. Early prenatal testing via a maternal blood draw has opened up the way to let us prepare for these babies, or eradicate an entire subset of our population. Presently, Down Syndrome is the main target of this “compassionate eugenics” movement, but it If we do not stand up against this thinking, it will be just the beginning. After Down Syndrome, what group will come next? Utah needs to draw a defining line in the sand and declare loudly to the world, “We will not go there!”
Real Experiences: There are countless stories by parents who faced pressure to abort their children after a possible Down Syndrome diagnosis was made. Here are some excerpts from a particularly chilling account written by Robin Mueller:
Unborn children with Down Syndrome are robbed of their humanity. I learned this first hand when I received a call informing me my unborn child likely had Down Syndrome.
I was sent to a high-risk obstetrician seemingly immediately. The first thing I said to this doctor was that I would never abort my child, and I didn’t want her to even suggest this. She either found this to be a challenge she wanted to win or she just didn’t care about what I said.
The doctor had nothing positive to say about my child. In strong-armed fashion, she told me if I really loved my child I would have an abortion, because it was a caring decision that put the child first. She actually said, “You would be doing your baby a favor to have an abortion.”
I was also hammered with incorrect facts about children with Down Syndrome. The one that sticks out in my mind years later is that most children with Down Syndrome don’t live to see their first birthday. This is a complete lie, as the life expectancy for people with Down Syndrome is 60 years.
I was informed that I really didn’t have time to waste, since I was in my second trimester. The obstetrician said I should get an abortion as soon as possible before more people realized I was pregnant. I agreed to only one thing at that appointment. I had the blood test repeated so I could prepare by interviewing pediatricians who could properly care for my child.
My second triple-check test showed that my child didn’t have Down Syndrome, but rather that my due date was incorrect. When I returned to the specialist for a follow-up visit, I noticed she used the word “baby” repeatedly. During the prior visit, my child had been a mere fetus to her because she didn’t see the humanity of the child on the ultrasound screen.
Q: Are you sure people with Down Syndrome are being targeted?
A: Yes. In 2017, A member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee defended the use of abortion to eradicate babies with Down syndrome and other disabilities as a “preventive measure” to “avoid the handicap.” The practice of aborting children based on a Down syndrome diagnosis has been applauded by news stations such as CBS and hailed as a victory in European countries like Denmark where 98 percent of babies with a positive diagnosis are aborted and in Iceland where 100 percent are aborted. In 2016, a French court banned a pro-life commercial featuring smiling children with Down syndrome on the basis that it could "disturb the conscience" of women who had aborted their unborn children. Richard Dawkins infamously responded to a woman querying a possible Down's syndrome pregnancy: 'Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.' Under current trends, people with Down Syndrome will be completely extinct in certain countries once those already born have died.
France documented a 96% abortion rate for those diagnosed in the womb with Down syndrome. In the UK, the abortion rate for unborn Down syndrome children is reported as high as 92% to 100%. The U.S. data includes a 2012 study that found a weighted mean from 61% up to 93% of those diagnosed in the womb with Down syndrome were aborted. A new report, using rigorous statistical modeling of the sparse U.S. data from 2006-2010, finds that abortion after prenatal diagnosis has reduced the population of individuals living with Down syndrome in the U.S. by approximately 30%.
Q: Why doesn’t the bill include other disabilities?
A: Currently, testing availability has been the main instigator that has opened up a way for this type of thinking to progress. Right now, babies with Down Syndrome are the main target. We are starting here, and will be progressing in the future. Abortion law is stifled by two major cases. Roe v Wade and Planned Parenthood vs Casey. Those cases make it illegal to ban any abortions pre-viability. We believe that this law does not fall under those rulings, but it may be decided in court. If we can stop the discriminatory abortions of babies with Down Syndrome, it will open the door for the protection of babies with other disabilities.
Q: Why is it ok to abort a healthy baby, but not a baby with Down Syndrome?
A: That is a great question, and one that we ask ourselves a lot in the fight for life. As we look to reverse the damage of Roe v Wade, we have to take every step in the right direction as a win. For example, across the country, states have been passing 20 week pain capable laws. This stops abortions after 20 weeks gestation (22 weeks LMP). However, why is the life of a 20 week baby more important than one who is 19 weeks? It isn’t. However, with Roe v Wade the current law, it is a step in the right direction, that so far, in many states, has not been stopped by the courts. If we could protect all babies, we would. We are always working towards that goal.
Q: Will this bill really stop a woman from aborting her baby with a Down Syndrome Diagnosis?
A: We understand that this won’t fully protect unborn Utah children with a possible diagnosis of Down Syndrome. We know this law may not prevent women from receiving an abortion based on a different grievance. Currently, in Utah, women can receive an abortion for any reason up to 22 weeks. Undoubtedly, there will be women who still abort their babies who have a possible diagnosis of Down Syndrome. So, while it won’t make things perfect, it will make things better. There are Utah women that have been pressured to abort their babies with Down Syndrome. This law will prevent doctors from performing abortions based solely on a Down Syndrome Diagnosis. Hopefully it will help individuals within our state understand that it is not acceptable to pressure women to abort their babies because they received a Down Syndrome Diagnosis. No woman should ever feel pressured into an abortion.
Links for Further Information