Ban on Abortion Because of Down Syndrome Clears Ohio Legislature

A amendment from Democrats says no state money can go to defending the law in court.


Sen. Frank LaRose/Facebook

Both houses of the Ohio General Assembly have approved making it illegal for women to get abortions because a fetus is found to have Down Syndrome. If the law, as expected, is approved by Republican Gov. John Kasich, Ohio will become the third state to do so.

"Do we want in the state of Ohio to have people making a decision that someone is less valuable because of a chromosomal disorder that they have," state Sen. Frank LaRose (R-Hudson), who recently lost his bid to become Ohio secretary of state, asked during an explanation of his sponsorship of the senate measure for WOSU radio.

Laws like the one LaRose championed are largely symbolic measures (like state bans on sex-selective abortion). Women aren't required to provide a reason to terminate a pregnancy and doctors aren't required to test for Down Syndrome, or anything else, before performing an abortion.

Choosing to abort fetuses found to have genetic abnormalities does not, despite LaRose's grim takeaway, mean that people place less value on the lives of people with these conditions. Many potential parents know they don't have the financial, emotional, or other resources required to raise a special-needs child. And without people lining up to adopt or otherwise take care of these children, that's what we're asking prospective parents of fetuses with Down Syndrome to do.

It's admirable that many families do choose to do it (and of course for many people, religious or moral beliefs mean there's no other option for them). But it's not the state's place to impose this choice on pregnant women and their families. Forcing it on people does not seem likely to produce healthy outcomes or situations in the best interest of the children involved.

Three Ohio Republican senators joined their Democratic colleagues in voting against the Down Syndrome abortion ban. Republican Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) told WOSU that he thinks the bill is constitutionally questionable and will also have unintended consequences.

"If we're going to introduce law that says the patient and doctor's conversation with each other could lead to some liability, I think what we're going to see is reduced conversation," Dolan said.

Democrats added two amendments included in the Senate bill: one saying that no public money would go to defending the ban it court should it be challenged and one saying women should not have to say why they are getting an abortion. "It's ironic," said Sen. Charleta Tavares (D-Columbus), "that those who claim they believe in limited government are once again choosing to insert themselves in a relationship that is sacred between that practitioner and their patient."

Disability advocates have had mixed reactions to the bill. Some are opposed because singling out Down Syndrome, but allowing abortions motivated by other genetic conditions or fetal abnormalities, suggests the lives of people with those conditions are less valuable.

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  1. Boy, that’s retarded.

    1. I have a friend who had an abortion because the fetus tested positive for Downs. Fuck this evil law.

    2. As much as I personally hate abortion, either it’s a baby or it’s not. If it’s not a baby you can do whatever you want with it, and if it is a baby you can’t do anything with it.

      If it’s ok to kill the baby, why is it all of a sudden NOT ok if it’s because of a reason you don’t like? If abortion is legal then it’s perfectly fine to abort on any grounds – disorders, defects, genders, etc. I’ve had discussions with those on the left and they don’t like it when I point out that if you are “pro-choice”, then sex-selective abortions are fine — so what if they are aborting because they find out it’s a girl.

      So aborting the baby is perfectly OK, but now since its for a reason you don’t like it’s not OK? That doesn’t make any sense. That’s the same crap as the title IX kangaroo courts where it all depends on how she feels the next day.

      Full disclaimer – I have cerebral palsy and was 3 months premature, and thank god my mom is pro-life. She could have easily had an abortion citing health reasons.

      1. I’ve had discussions with those on the left and they don’t like it when I point out that if you are “pro-choice”, then sex-selective abortions are fine — so what if they are aborting because they find out it’s a girl.

        So they don’t support a woman’s right to get an abortion for those reasons, or they simply don’t like those types of reasons for getting an abortion? Those two things are quite different. If the former, then yeah, they are completely hypocritical.

      2. If it’s not a baby you can do whatever you want with it, and if it is a baby you can’t do anything with it.

        That’s not quite true. In many locales, a pregnant woman is not allowed to drink alcohol — bars are not allowed to serve her — even though there is no baby. Also, she can’t do drugs or other things that might harm the fetus.

        A better way to state the current thinking is, in your style: “If it’s not a baby and you’re not planning to bring it to term, you can kill it; if you are planning to bring it to term, or once it’s born, you have to take care of it.”

    3. I love it!

      So what they’re saying is they want to favor the birth of those w Down’s over those w/o it.

  2. Disability advocates have had mixed reactions to the bill. Some are opposed because singling out Down Syndrome, but allowing abortions motivated by other genetic conditions or fetal abnormalities, suggests the lives of people with those conditions are less valuable.

    Seems reasonable to me. I’ve always felt that way about the frequently stated “rape and incest” exception as well. If abortion is wrong, I don’t know why it’s any more okay to kill those babies than any other. Same with this. This sounds purely symbolic, but I think saying that many the retarded’s live’s have value is not a bad symbol to make.

  3. I have 2-3 or so questions for Bible-Bangers and other do-gooders who want to FORCE me to value Down’s Syndrome, etc., people in every way the same as regular people:

    ‘1) Would you advise your daughter to go ahead and marry one?

    ‘2) Would you hire one as your doctor, lawyer, home-builder, bridge-builder? Should they get “special needs” assistance so as to get the required degree, license, etc., for these jobs?

    I have more, the next one is longer, gimme some time?

    1. Now, especially in the high-tech world, where “smarts” are treasured? And tell me anyway, how many parts of the modern USA are not touched by high-tech these days, anyway? How many (how few) workplaces do NOT need a “tech whizz”? “Smarts” and technical expertise are needed everywhere? OK, then, here comes the challenge to sharp-elbowed-at-the-workplace “Christians”, especially the conservative and / or Biblically-literalistic ones? We’re cutting to the chase, now, ask yourself if this is you?
      You are strongly opposed to abortion? You are strongly opposed to “playing God” with human lives? You say that if a couple learns that they are going to have a Down’s Syndrome (“mentally retarded”; OK, lynch me now for using a BAD word!) child, that they should NOT be allowed to abort? You say such children should be loved and cherished, treasured? Yet at the same time, you show VERY little patience with people at work who you regard as being less smart than you are?! You will certainly make SURE that the boss KNOWS just how MUCH smarter you are than they are?!

      1. And you will even claim credit for the work they do?! You are a super-genius; why should a super-genius thank (or credit) the cleaning lady, who contributed to super-genius’s work, by cleaning his cubicle? And you can quite easily extend that kind of thinking, to include ignoring the one who wrote and debugged the entire new module which you used to run some quick, simple new tests? You ran the tests, so you fixed it all by yourself, comes weekly report time! (In short, you cheat your ass off to make yourself look smarter than the next guy).

      2. You hear of “genetic engineering” applied to humans? You contemplate such horrors, and condemn the idea that humans, in the future, should genetically engineer their offspring for higher I.Q.? “Playing God”, you call it? WHY do people want smarter kids? Maybe because of sharp-elbowed people like YOU who will use your smarts, not only to be a “better” tech whiz (at least in your own eyes) than the next guy, but ALSO to sharp-elbow-fight your way to the top of the heap! But that’s OK, in your eyes, because you contribute some fraction of your earnings, earned by your sharpest of all sharp elbows, so that your church can build concrete, steel, and glass Temples to the of Glory to God. Could you PLEASE consider, instead, building a Temple of Glory to God, inside your own personal head or heart, where it really belongs? THIS Temple of Glory is simply, loving and LIVING by the Golden Rule. Not as flashy, outwardly, as a physical temple, but ya know what?!?!? It’s what God REALLY wants! MORE than shiny new buildings, actually! Bothering to sacrifice your money to God is vaguely nice, depending on your motives, and where the money goes? But God would, in a N.Y. minute, MUCH rather trade in THAT sacrifice of yours, and instead, have you sacrifice your self-righteousness, greed, and arrogance to Him, since they do far more harm than good.

        1. Did you have a specific person in mind when you wrote that last part?

          1. About 4 people who are variously Bible-Bangers at my former work-place, who were ruthless cheaters and who put others down to get a leg up, in a place where there is “forced distribution reviews” and constant layoffs. Gotta make others look bad, so you can look good. Got me laid off, because my ethics wouldn’t allow me to play that game. I am a military vet, and this kind of malarkey goes badly against the grain…
            “Somebody” wrote a good (slightly long) summary of such games from the viewpoint of a military vet. See https://www.thelayoff.com/t/Py601PO for details…

            1. Maybe they were just smarter and out worked you. Frankly you sound like bitter clinger screeching about muh job. You didn’t have what it took to succeed. Buck up and retrain for something else.

              1. “You didn’t have what it took to succeed.”

                Yes, I lacked ruthlessness! You don’t know shit about me, you GD troll!

      3. In short? Ye self-righteous bastards!!! If all should be loved and cherished and treated right, regardless of IQ, then how about starting in the workplace, and stop being ruthless, cheating assholes!!!!

        1. Was Dr. Mengele your personal physician? You seem to think alike.

          1. He clearly got out smarted and out worked by some Christians and is bitter about it.

            1. I didn’t get out-smarted, I got out-assholed. I believed in treating others the way I like to be treated… And the assholes did not!

              But they think they’d be drinking pina coladas in Heaven, whileI rot in Hell, because they espouse better dogma than I do.

              1. Yea yea sure you did. The free market spoke and frankly didn’t think much of what you were offering.

                1. An idiotic boss who knows NOTHING about my job, is the “free market”? The “free market” never makes mistakes? Have you ever ventured far enough from your Mom’s basement, to see how the real world often works?

                  1. You sound like a socialist. Which is basically every libertarian once something doesn’t go their way. All of a sudden the market ain’t so great.

                    1. Did I blame the Government Almighty, or did I blame hypocritical Christians who say one thing and do another? Stop your trolling and go argue with the voices and straw men in your head, because you sure are NOT arguing with me about socialism! I have never argued in favor of socialism.

                    2. You are embracing tribalism and demonizing groups because you didn’t have what it took. You are right that’s more like National socialism.

                    3. If I am “demonizing” anyone, then it is hypocrites! Read your Bible and / or Peter McWilliam’s book “Aint Nobody’s Business…”

                      Jesus ragged on hypocrisy worse then he ragged on just about anything else, and for good reason!

                      You are trolling because a half-decayed dead donkey turned you down for sex, if we are going to play it your way, you hateful asshole! (Talk more nicely to the dead donkey next time, and maybe you will succeed).

          2. You seem to be one of the self-righteous assholes (and hypocrites) that I have described about. How many unwanted Down Syndrome babies have you adopted? Have you married a women who was pregnant, tempted to get an abortion, and was carrying a child not your own? Besides SJW-ing on the internet, how much are you “putting out” to help other people and the world around you? I don’t think that voting to use coercion against people who think differently than you do, should carry much weight here…

            1. They took muh jerb.

              1. And they took your brain and basic decency with it!

                1. Because I think it’s ridicolous that your response to getting out worked is to lash out with insane bigotry? Yea no l just don’t respect people who can’t deal with their own faults and blame others. There’s no shame in getting out smarted in life it happens. Maybe if you’d spent a little less work time on the internet it would have gone differntly who knows?

                  1. So then no one has the right to bitch about anything, because everything is always fair? Did black slaves in the USA have any reason to bitch, or where they just whiners? How about “witches” killed in the dark ages? And yes, how about Jews killed by Hitler and company? 100,000,000 folks killed by commies in the 20th century? All just whiners who couldn’t cut it, I suppose…

                    Do you know what injustice is? Do you know what injustice caused by hypocrisy is?

            2. I haven’t adopted any pets, which is why I support the right to set puppies on fire.

  4. Pointless theater is pointless. Guess it’s better than them “doing something” else.

  5. Yeah. *Finds out fetus has Downs syndrome*

    Uh… we’re not ready to commit to a child right now, we just decided.

  6. Is this why you were re-Tweeting Weigel’s defense of Franken: abortion? Is that the only thing that matters?

  7. Just remember, everybody, it’s the libertarians who are the extremists–not the establishment Republicans like John Kasich.

    If forcing a woman to carry a down syndrome fetus to term against her will isn’t extreme, then what is?

    Pulling out of Iraq? Legalizing cannabis? Cutting spending? Those things are extreme?

    1. If you cut any spending at all, it will have a ripple effect that will kill all the poor people in the world.

      1. You just want people to die.

    2. Pulling out of Iraq!?!?!? What an isolationist you are!

  8. My wife’s friend became pregnant (unplanned) in her mid-40s and found out the baby was going to have DS. It put her in an existential crisis (with the husband asking for an abortion) as she was torn. She felt it was wrong to do so but rationally she didn’t think she could cope with it but if she did accept ‘God’s will’ she would rise above it. In the end, she decided she was going to have the abortion but before it happened she had a miscarriage.

    It was a *relief* to the extent she didn’t have the abortion on her conscience. It weighed that heavily on her. Many a night my wife spoke with her and tried to help her through it.

    These laws and debates always seem to forget or miss the mark about that side of abortion – the emotional toll it exacts on families.

    1. Well, if the government makes these decisions for you, then the emotional turmoil simply disappears.

      P.S. I was just following orders!

      1. If the government makes these decisions for you the emotional turmoil may last a life time.

        1. Yeah, just to be clear, “I was just following orders” never exonerated anybody from ethical responsibility, and the government compelling behavior doesn’t change a thing about the ethical questions involved.

          Slavery was immoral, even when it was legal, and not carrying a down syndrome fetus to term is either immoral or not regardless of what the Ohio state legislature, Kasich, and the courts say about it.

    2. Pro tip. For most women, having an abortion isn’t an “emotional toll”. It is called “your 20s”.

      1. It doesn’t mean they feel the same way about their abortions as they get older, especially if they have difficulty having their own children due to a perforated uterus.

  9. Step one: dehumanizes the victim

    1. *dehumanize

  10. How is this even constitutional? SCOTUS already decided that women have a right to an abortion. If a state can ban abortion for one reason, can’t it then ban abortion for any specific reason? Couldn’t it then pass a series of laws that cover all possible reasons?

    1. Next thing you know we might end up with the same abortion laws as the rest of the industrialized world. I see what you’re saying, though

      1. Like Ireland? England? Australia? Finland? Brazil? Poland?

        You need do to some more research, bud. The “rest of the industrialized world” is often a lot stricter on abortion than the US.

    2. By aborting female babies, aren’t you violating their ‘right to choose’?

      1. And their right to vote. And bear arms.

    3. It’s not IMHO. That’s why it’s theater.

  11. What if Ohio got rid of this law, but required abortion clinics to hang a sign that dissuades people from aborting a child with down syndrome? That might complicate the issue

  12. I am confused. I thought all abortions were good?

    Tony, please explain this.

    1. Republicans. Even retarded fetuses are more important than women.

  13. Denmark has solved its DS problem through abortion. The problem I have is the determination of DS, so many people are now claimed to have it that I’m starting to not believe it. to many people are using it to justify more government monies for their projects

    1. Throughout history, Step One: dehumanize the victim. Step Two: genocide

      1. thats the point isn’t it and since its religious people trying to stop a genocide it will be mocked due to where it is coming from. that said if people choose to have an abortion I’m fine with it but its my understanding that in Denmark there is no choice a supposed DS child will be aborted no matter what the mother says

      2. Throughout history, Step One: dehumanize the victim. Step Two: genocide

        So elimination of everyone with Down Syndrome? Would that be a bad thing?

        1. Ask someone with Down Syndrome if they’d rather be dead.

          1. Can I ask someone who might have had Down Syndrome but was never born if they’d rather be alive? Because we’re not talking about killing all the people who have Down Syndrome.

            1. We’re talking about killing people.

              1. So if you killed the person before it was born, did it really have Down Syndrome? Is Down Syndrome a genetic defect that needs to be preserved for some reason? Are you going to take care of all the Down Syndrome babies that you intend to force to be born?

                1. At what point does it stop being ok to kill someone with Down’s Syndrome based on their being genetically flawed and a burden to society? Or, in your eyes, is it ever not ok?

        2. That entirely depends on how one goes about eliminating Down’s Syndrome, does it not?

          1. Good luck eliminating DS, last I checked it’s one of those mutations you’re never going to get rid of even if you abort everyone who has it and shoot the adult’s in the face.

            Hooray, carriers who don’t have the disease!

        3. there are levels of Down Syndrome and many live perfectly good independent lives and some are actually genius territory who may solve problems some day, you know problems like climate change.

  14. Uhh…abortion can easily be said to be tampering with the genetic pool by individuals so I’m not sure why this particular eugenic practice is singled out.

    I mean, we’ve already determined that abortion is wiping out African Americans because the choices of many individuals. Why not do the same in this particular instance?


  15. I don’t want the government interfering in these kinds of decisions. However, my brother had Downs Syndrome, and if any woman ever told me she got an abortion because she didn’t want one of “them”, i would be punch her straight in the face and happily go to jail for it.

    Do you know what would stop abortion in a heatbeat [sic]? If people were getting abortions because they didn’t want a darkie child, or a chink child, or something like that.

    Nah, probably not. Because Democrats are perfectly happy aborting female fetuses just because they are female.

    1. If people were getting abortions because they didn’t want a darkie child, or a chink child, or something like that.

      Look at the statistics for who’s getting abortions; this is already how it works.

      1. The left is killing its own electoral base before it’s born. Genius….

  16. “Do we want in the state of Ohio to have people making a decision”? – Yes, yes, we do. It’s an issue of a woman’s right to make that choice.

  17. If you love Down-syndrome patients, and object to the reduction in their numbers by pre-natal testing and selective abortion, then I have some GOOD NEWS for you!

    Thanks to advances in biotechnology, we will soon be able to genetically engineer human zygotes with trisomy-21, the condition which causes Down syndrome. You will be able to implant these zygotes into your own uterus (or, if you are male, into your wife’s or girlfriend’s uterus) and have as many children with Down syndrome as you wish to have.

    We will also be able to genetically engineer zygotes with sickle-cell anemia, cystic fibrosis, Gaucher’s disease, Wilson’s disease, alpha- and beta- thalassemia, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and even Prader-Willi syndrome. You will be able to have children with whatever genetic diseases you want them to have. Including, if you like, RRM2B-related MDDS, which is what little Charlie Gard had.


    1. You are confusing people with a trait they have. Believing DS does not justify killing people is not the same as wanting to deliberately cause fetuses to have DS.

    2. Intelligent Mr Toad is NOT totally off base here!
      The (admittedly toothless) law, as written, values DS children (protects them specially) more so then normal children.
      By logical extension, the lawmakers are saying that DS children are more valuable than normal children!
      So let’s go and deliberately make TONS of them!

      In reality, it is just so much hypocrisy and “virtue signalling”.

      Well, I can one-up them! If they say that DS kids are more valuable than normal kids, I say that mass murderers are the most valuable of them all! SEE how non-judgmental and compassionate I am!?!??!

  18. I may not have the financial or emotional resources to handle a normal kid, doesn’t mean I get to kill it.

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