The Daily Citizen recently reported on the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal’s decision to permit Ohio to “protect preborn babies with Down syndrome from being aborted simply for having the condition.” As we reported, “this ruling will go a long way in protecting babies with prenatal diagnoses like Down syndrome from an abortionist’s scalpel.”
In particular, one judge’s strongly worded opinion deserves special attention.
Judge Griffin sided with the 9-member majority but wrote separately “to emphasize Ohio’s compelling state interest in prohibiting its physicians from knowingly engaging in the practice of eugenics.”
Ohio’s law, H.B. 214, was passed in 2017 and stipulates that no abortionist shall perform an abortion if they know the mother is seeking the abortion “in whole or in part” because the preborn child “has or may have Down syndrome.”
“Many think that eugenics ended with the horrors of the Holocaust. Unfortunately, it did not. The philosophy and the pure evil that motivated Hitler and Nazi Germany to murder millions of innocent lives continues today,” Judge Griffin wrote. “Eugenics was the root of the Holocaust and is a motivation for many of the selective abortions that occur today.”
The judge then gave a brief history of the practice of eugenics in the United States and noted Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger’s ties to the eugenics movement.
“Following Nazi Germany’s horrific implementation of eugenics to its natural conclusion, the eugenics movement lost its popularity,” Judge Griffin wrote. “Tragically, however, the practice continues today with modern-day abortions. Specifically, the selective abortion of unborn babies who are deemed ‘unfit’ or ‘undesirable’ is becoming increasingly common.”
“Ohio’s anti-eugenicist goals align with our now-enlightened national policy of protecting and respecting people with disabilities,” he added.
Judge Griffin was appointed to the 6th Circuit in 2005 by former President George Bush.
The 6th Circuit’s decision leads to a split among the 13 circuit courts, after the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in January against Arkansas’ law prohibiting an abortionist “from intentionally performing an abortion with knowledge that the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion ‘solely on the basis’ of a test indicating Down syndrome or any other reason to believe that the fetus has Down syndrome.”
This split, with one circuit deciding one way and another deciding a different way, makes it more likely that upon appeal the U.S. Supreme Court will decide to take up the case to resolve the issue.
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has already asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the Eighth Circuit’s decision.
In 2019, the high court declined to review a Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals opinion against Indiana’s law prohibiting abortions based on the sex, race, or disability of the preborn child.
In its opinion denying review, the Supreme Court said, “Only the Seventh Circuit has thus far addressed this kind of law. We follow our ordinary practice of denying petitions insofar as they raise legal issues that have not been considered by additional Courts of Appeals.”
Now that two other circuits have decided on the issue, reaching contradictory results, let us pray the Supreme Court will soon permit states to prohibit eugenics – aborting babies based on their sex, race, or disability.
As Justice Thomas wrote in the 2019 case, “Although the Court declines to wade into these issues today, we cannot avoid them forever. Having created the constitutional right to an abortion, this Court is dutybound to address its scope… The Constitution itself is silent on abortion.”
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