Friday, March 02, 2018 - Updated: 11:32 am
Legislation has been introduced in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives that would prohibit the abortion of a child due solely to a diagnosis of Down syndrome.
Down syndrome is a congenital, chromosome abnormality causing developmental delays and physical limitations impacting a child’s height and facial appearance.
In recent years, celebrity support and public awareness about advances in support for families impacted by the condition have dramatically improved the lifespan and educational and work opportunities for individuals with Down syndrome.
According to recent reports, 100 years ago a baby diagnosed with Down syndrome was not expected to live past his or her 10th birthday. In 2018, the life expectancy for an individual with Down syndrome has been extended to age 60 and beyond.
Under current state law, a woman can obtain an abortion prior to 24 weeks gestational age for any reason, except if the woman’s sole reason is to select the sex of the child. The new bill will expand that exception to prohibit aborting a child due solely to a prenatal diagnosis that the child has Down syndrome. The law would put no restrictions on a mother obtaining an abortion in cases of rape, incest or personal endangerment.
Studies show that as many as nine out of 10 children diagnosed in utero with Down syndrome are aborted in the United States, and mothers are being indirectly or directly pressured or advised to make this decision by genetic counselors and the culture.
“This is a silent eugenic movement that represents the ultimate extreme forms of prejudice, bigotry, profiling, intolerance and hate, and some cultures have terminated 90 percent plus of unborn children diagnosed with Down syndrome,” said Kurt Kondrich of Upper St. Clair, whose 14-year-old daugher, Chloe, was born with Down syndrome in 2003.
“Chloe and individuals with Down syndrome should qualify for protection under the Endangered Species Act as this genocide continues. In 1973, we legalized the killing of our most vulnerable children with abortion, and in 1973 we criminalized the killing of our most endangered vulnerable animals with the endangered species act. As prenatal testing advances we should all be asking who will be next to be identified, targeted and wiped out for perceived imperfections.”
Four other states have taken steps to protect these children by passing laws prohibiting abortions because of a Down syndrome diagnosis.