Ohio can now protect preborn babies with Down syndrome from being aborted simply for having the condition, the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled. This ruling will go a long way in protecting babies with prenatal diagnoses like Down syndrome from an abortionist’s scalpel.
In a 9-7 opinion, the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has sided with the Buckeye State’s H.B. 214, which passed in 2017. The bill reads in part, “No person shall purposely perform or induce or attempt to perform or induce an abortion on a pregnant woman if the person has knowledge that the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion in whole or in part because” the child has a prenatal diagnosis or is believed to have a diagnosis of Down syndrome.
For those medical professionals that violate this law, they risk a fourth-degree felony charge and having their license to practice medicine revoked.
Judge Alice Batchelder, who wrote the lead opinion, argued, “We hold that the restrictions imposed, or burdens created, by (the Ohio law) do not create a substantial obstacle to a woman’s ability to choose or obtain an abortion.”
Essentially, with this majority opinion, Batchelder and the other judges on the bench agree that the state of Ohio has a vested interest in protecting preborn babies from “discriminatory abortions, namely Down-syndrome-selective abortions” and “preventing doctors from becoming witting participants in Down-syndrome-selective abortions.”
Unsurprisingly, Planned Parenthood disagrees with this conclusion. The abortion business’ Advocates of Ohio tweeted, “The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals gave Ohio lawmakers the power to deny someone an abortion based on why the patient wants one. As always, the sole purpose of these restrictions is to add barriers to safe and legal abortion access.”
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Ohio also issued a social media response, posting in a Twitter thread, “If the politicians behind these laws cared about the lives of people with disabilities then would make sure people with disabilities have community-based supports, inclusive education, integrated housing & employment, and the freedom to make decisions about their lives & bodies.”
But how can a person with Down syndrome experience any of the things the ACLU advocates for if their most basic right, the right to life, is denied simply based on the cultural stigma surrounding their disability, which is often perpetuated by the medical community?
When a woman and her family are given a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome, the last thing many of them hear is “congratulations.” Instead, most are given outdated information regarding the condition that paints it in the worst light possible and abortion is often suggested as the first, and sometimes only, option for the child.
It’s part of the disturbing legacy of eugenics, the ghost of which still lingers in the medical community throughout the country. This idea that certain lives, those that aren’t perfect or could be considered burdensome on society, are somehow considered less worthy of life than others.
The Nazis embraced this philosophy—and one of the first targets for its euthanasia program, which started before the Holocaust, was a baby boy named Gerhard Kretschmar. Born with severe disabilities, his parents requested permission from the Nazi state to kill their child. Adolf Hitler sent his personal physician Karl Brandt to examine Gerhard and permitted Brandt to kill him after the physician determined that death was better than life. This led to the creation of Akiton T4, the euthanasia program responsible for the deaths of 275,000 to 300,000 children and adults with disabilities.
In a biography of Brandt, author Ulf Schmidt made the decision to finally identify the boy and his family for the first time, stating, “Although this approach is understandable and sensitive to the feelings of the parents and relatives of the child, it somehow overlooks the child itself and its individual suffering…By calling the child ‘Child K,’ we would not only medicalize the child’s history, but also place the justifiable claim of the parents for anonymity above the personality and suffering of the first ‘euthanasia’ victim.”
His conclusion is something that the ACLU, Planned Parenthood and other advocates of abortion should take to heart. In the rush to advocate on behalf of women, they willfully ignore and overlook the life of a child inside the womb and seemingly become inheritors of some of the Nazis’ most despicable policies.
Arkansas is also fighting for the right to protect babies with Down syndrome from selective abortions, with Attorney General Leslie Rutledge filing a petition asking the “U.S. Supreme Court to review a decision by the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals that held the Constitution guarantees a right to selective abortion of children with Down syndrome.”
Ohio and Arkansas have made it clear that preborn babies with Down syndrome and potentially other conditions should be protected from discriminatory abortions. Hopefully, this case will gain steam and encourage other states across the country to protect the most vulnerable babies from abortion.
Motherhood in Difficult Situations (with a section on parenting children with disabilities)
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