Gov. Kasich Signs Law Banning Down Syndrome Abortions

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An anti-abortion group says a new OH law banning doctors from performing abortions based on diagnoses of Down syndrome will give unborn babies with the genetic disorder "a shot at life".

A doctor performing an abortion in such a case could face a fourth-degree felony charge and physicians could lose their licenses.

The bill bans abortions after prenatal tests show the baby is more likely than not to have Down Syndrome.

Gov. Kasich signed the bill, known as the Down Syndrome Non-Discrimination Act, which makes it illegal for a doctor to perform or induce "an abortion on a pregnant woman who is seeking the abortion because an unborn child has or may have Down Syndrome", on Friday. Abortion would be prohibited even if Down syndrome wasn't the reason the parents wanted an abortion.

Down syndrome is a genetic condition that affects cognitive ability, causing mild to severe learning disabilities and distinctive facial characteristics.

As Cleveland.com reports, Kasich said in November he would wait to review the final bill before making a decision to either sign or veto the legislation.

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Gov. Kasich Signs Law Banning Down Syndrome Abortions

A 2012 study published by Prenatal Diagnosis suggests that while termination rates for Down syndrome pregnancies were trending downwards nationally in recent years, up to 85 percent of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are killed. Some liberal groups, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, claim it violates women's rights.

The law would come into effect in 90 days.

OH is the fourth state to pass an abortion ban for fetuses with Down syndrome, according to The Washington Post, though courts have blocked the laws from going into effect in IN and Louisiana.

These latest restrictions on abortion come nearly exactly a year after Kasich signed a 20-week abortion ban into law. "Ohioans with special needs deserve special protection and Gov. Kasich delivered this Christmas season", Ohio Right to Life President Mike Gonidakis said. The executive director of the abortion-rights group NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio predicts it will have a "chilling effect" on doctor-patient conversations.

Laws similar to Ohio's new Down syndrome abortion ban have, in recent years, been passed in IN and North Dakota.

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