COLUMBUS - 

The Ohio House of Representatives today passed House Bill 214, the Down Syndrome Non-Discrimination Act, joint-sponsored by Representative Derek Merrin (R-Monclova Township) and Representative Sarah LaTourette (R-Chesterland).


The legislation seeks to protect unborn children that have Down syndrome from being targeted by abortion. House Bill 214 prohibits a physician from performing or inducing an abortion based on a diagnosis or test result indicating the unborn child may have Down syndrome.


Merrin stated during his speech on the House floor, “Whether a child should live or die should not be determined by their natural-born appearance, physical characteristics, disability, or the diagnosis of a genetic condition.  I should not have to stand here today and justify the right for unborn children with Down syndrome to live and no person with Down syndrome should have to justify their own existence.”


Violation of the statute is a fourth-degree felony if a physician provides an abortion with knowledge the abortion is sought due to Down syndrome and would result in the State Medical Board revoking the physician’s license. The physician would also be liable for compensation to any person who sustains injury, death, or loss from the prohibited abortion.


“Society often places priority on outward appearance or perceived intellectual ability. This vainness and shallowness cannot seep into our laws and legal system,” said Merrin. “As a legislature, we have the opportunity to send a powerful and clear message to the Down syndrome community: we support you, we value you, and we seek to protect you.”


Testimony submitted to the House Health Committee indicates an estimated 691 babies are diagnosed with Down syndrome, 400,000 Americans are living with Down syndrome and on average - 6,000 babies with Down syndrome are born each year.


House Bill 214 passed the Ohio House with a 64-31 vote and heads to the Ohio Senate for further consideration. 

 
 
 
  
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