March 16, 2020

6th U.S. Court of Appeals Hears Case Regarding Ohio's Down Syndrome Discriminatory Abortion Ban

In 2017, Ohio passed its Down Syndrome Non-Discrimination Act, which prohibits the abortion of unborn children purely on the basis of a diagnosis with Down syndrome. It was quickly challenged by pro-abortion forces in the state, and abortion clinics were granted a preliminary injunction against the law's enforcement. Ohio challenged the law, but a three-judge panel ruled in favor of abortionists. Ohio appealed, and the 6th U.S. Court of Appeals had its first hearings last Wednesday.

An attorney arguing on behalf of the abortion clinic Preterm-Cleveland argued that the Down Syndrome Non-Discrimination Act was "an absolute ban" on the abortion of unborn children with Down Syndrome, but judges argued against her claim. Judge Raymond Kethledge said that the law "is not a ban" and does not place an undue burden on women seeking an abortion because “It doesn’t regulate the woman at all directly,” since it only regulates doctors who are commit abortions they know are solely based on a Down Syndrome diagnosis.

U.S. Circuit Judge Jeffrey Sutton agreed, saying it was not a terrible idea” to pass laws prohibiting discriminatory selective abortions based on beliefs parents might hold against their child's characteristics.

The federal Department of Justice was also represented at the hearing last Wednesday to defend the Ohio law. “Nothing in Ohio’s law creates a substantial obstacle to women obtaining an abortion,” the Justice Department wrote in an amicus brief, “and nothing in the Constitution or Supreme Court precedent requires States to authorize medical providers to participate in abortions the providers know are based on Down syndrome.”

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