Ohio Governor John Kasich just signed a bill making it a felony if a doctor performs an abortion on a fetus that has been diagnosed with Down Syndrome.
On Friday Ohio Governor John Kasich signed into law a new ban on abortion. The new law says that any doctor who performs an abortion after a prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome will lose their medical license and face felony charges and 18 months in prison.
This new Ohio abortion ban will take effect in 90 days, if it’s not blocked by the courts. Two other states, North Dakota and Indiana, have passed similar legislation. A federal judge blocked the Indiana law in September on the grounds that the state can’t limit a woman’s reason for having an abortion. So far the North Dakota law has not been challenged.
According to a press release from Kasich’s office, the Ohio abortion ban “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.”
Some disability rights groups and pro-life organizations are cheering for Ohio’s new ban. The national pro-life group, Susan B. Anthony List, put out a statement saying, “Ohio has given unborn children with Down Syndrome and their families an early Christmas present and created a safe haven from lethal discrimination.”
But many pro-choice Americans are furious about Ohio’s law because it violates a woman’s constitutional right to decide on her own reproductive choices.
“When a woman receives a diagnosis of Down syndrome during her pregnancy, the last thing she needs is Governor Kasich barging in to tell her what’s best for her family,” said NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland in a statement. “This law shames women and will have a chilling effect on the conversations between doctors and patients because of the criminal penalties that doctors will face.”
“The law does nothing to support families taking care of loved ones with Down syndrome. And instead exploits them as part of a larger anti-choice strategy to systematically make all abortion care illegal.”