October 16, 2019

U.S. Circuit Court Blocks Ohio Law Preventing Discriminatory Abortions Against Children with Down Syndrome

A three-judge panel from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2-1 to block an Ohio law preventing abortionists from committing abortions on the basis of a child's diagnosis with Down syndrome. The decision came on Friday, October 11.

Judge Alice Moore Batchelder gave the following statement in her dissent.
"The law prevents a physician from performing an abortion when the physician knows the abortion is sought not because the woman did not intend to become pregnant, but because the child in the woman’s womb tested positive for Down Syndrome. Ohio concluded that permitting physicians to become witting accomplices to the deliberate targeting of Down Syndrome babies would undermine the principle that the Down Syndrome population is equal in value and dignity to the rest of Ohio’s population, and would do deep damage to the integrity of the medical profession. 
The majority holds Ohio’s choice unconstitutional. But controlling precedent requires that we review laws like H.B. 214 under an undue-burden analysis, which is fact-intensive and must consider the State’s interests and the benefits of the law, not just the potential burden it places on women seeking an abortion. Neither the district court nor the majority here makes a genuine attempt to meet that demand, which leaves their decisions insupportable and incorrect."
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