SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) – A new bill is aiming to protect unborn children with down syndrome from abortion.
Representative Karianne Lisonbee and Senator Curtis Bramble announced their sponsorship of HB 205 to the public in a press conference Monday at the Utah State Capitol.
The bill, also called the Down Syndrome Nondiscrimination Abortion Act:
– Requires a physician to provide certain information to a pregnant woman when a prenatal screening or diagnostic test indicates that the pregnant woman’s unborn child has or may have Down syndrome
– Prohibits a person from performing, inducing, or attempting 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
– Requires the pathology report to provide information about whether an aborted child had or may have had Down syndrome
– Requires a physician who performed an abortion to affirm that the physician did not have knowledge that the pregnant woman sought the abortion because the unborn 23 child had or may have had Down syndrome
Rose Carter, mother of 2-year-old Dominik was among several parents who were present at the press conference. Dominik is the youngest of her three children. He also has Down syndrome.
“They have every right to live, laugh, and love just like any other child. I have two older children and why should they have rights and my little boy who has Down syndrome not?” said Carter.
Carter said she believes that if more doctors counseled would-be mothers on their options, the number pregnant women choosing to abort their baby would go down.
“You’re going to be scared. You’re going to be afraid of the unknown. You’re going to have so many fears. But as a mother of a child with down syndrome, I can tell you, all of that goes away the second your child is born, just like any of your other children,” said Carter. “The joy that my son, Dominik has brought me is phenomenal. He’s so amazing. He’s brought so much happiness to me and my family and my two older children.”
The bill includes circumstances where abortion would be allowed such as if birth of the child would jeopardize the life of the mother or if the woman is pregnant as a result of rape.
Those who oppose the bill said the ultimate decision of a pregnancy should be left to the woman.
“H.B. 205 is about restricting access to abortion, not protecting those with Down syndrome. The decision to terminate a pregnancy is a deeply personal and sometimes complex decision that must be left to a woman, in consultation with her family, her faith, and her health care provider,” said Karrie Galloway, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Association of Utah. “Many parents find that having a child with Down syndrome is the right decision for them, but this does not mean that their experience should lead to a law that forces other families into the same situation. Regardless of how one personally feels about abortion, it’s important that it remain a safe and legal medical procedure for a woman to consider if and when she needs it.”