UPDATE 3/22/19: HB166 has been signed by Governor Herbert. It's official! Thank you again to everyone who helped get this bill passed & signed into law!
HB166 PASSED its final vote!! Thank you for all of your hard work in getting this important bill passed! This is a huge win and will save innocent lives!
Senate votes (20-6): https://le.utah.gov/DynaBill/svotes.jsp?sessionid=2019GS&voteid=784&house=S
HB166 passed the House!! A very sincere THANK YOU to the House Representatives who voted in favor!
TIPS ON HOW TO COMMUNICATE EFFECTIVELY WITH LEGISLATORS
- When e-mailing, put the bill number in the subject line (example: Please SUPPORT H.B.166)
- If one of the committee members is your legislator, make sure to tell them that you are a CONSTITUENT (write it in the subject line of your e-mail). https://le.utah.gov/GIS/findDistrict.jsp
- Keep e-mails brief, to the point. Use your own words.
- Text only very brief messages and keep those communications timely.
- If you plan to testify at committee meetings, prepare a 2-3 minute message and be prepared to shorten it if needed. If you don’t want to testify, please come to the meeting anyways! The more faces they see in the audience in support, the better.
- Most importantly, always, ALWAYS, be respectful.
HB166 Down Syndrome Nondiscrimination Abortion Act
Bill Sponsor: Rep. Karianne Lisonbee
Floor Sponsor: Rep. Curtis Bramble
This bill puts a stay on the constitutional challenge. It would prohibit the performance of an abortion if the pregnant person's sole reason for seeking the abortion is because the fetus has or may have Down Syndrome. The abortion part of the bill would only go into effect if another state prevails at the Supreme Court with this law.
The bill provides for an information module done by the Utah Health Department to get information to parents who are facing a prenatal Down Syndrome diagnosis in the hopes that once they are truly informed, they will choose life for their baby.
Many parents are often pressured to abort after a Down Syndrome diagnosis and they are scared about what that diagnosis will mean for their child and for their family. This bill will ensure that they are fully informed and with the information about what it means to live with Down Syndrome, they are much more likely to chose life for their baby.
Link to the bill: https://le.utah.gov/~2019/bills/static/HB0166.html
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."