HARRISBURG – Legislation introduced today by Senator Scott Martin (R-13) would prohibit the practice of selectively aborting babies based solely on a diagnosis of Down syndrome.
Current law already prevents babies from being aborted based solely on the gender of the baby. Martin’s Senate Bill 1050 would provide a similar protection for unborn children who are diagnosed in utero with Down syndrome.
“Many of our local communities are home to individuals with Down syndrome, and each and every day, they prove that people with this condition can live happy, healthy and productive lives,” Martin said. “My bill is designed to protect their most basic right – to exist. It aims to prevent an entire class of people from being erased on the sole basis of a disability.”
Martin stressed that his proposal would not interfere with the existing right of a woman to obtain an abortion in cases of rape, incest or endangerment to the mother. The bill is targeted only at protecting babies who would be aborted solely because of the possible presence of Down syndrome.
In current practice, many physicians and counselors encourage mothers to consider aborting babies who may have Down syndrome. Some studies show that as many as 90 percent of children diagnosed in utero with Down are aborted.
“This bill is not about the legal and ethical debate regarding abortion,” Martin said. “It is about eugenics – the heavily criticized practice of discarding children if they do not have certain ‘desirable’ traits.”
“There are a wealth of resources available today to help families who are affected by this genetic condition, including new educational resources for all ages, and we are seeing more individuals with Down syndrome attending college and entering the workforce than ever before,” Martin said. “Every child who has this condition deserves a chance to experience all of the happiness and fulfilment that life has to offer.”
CONTACT: Terry Trego (717) 787-6535