Angela Boblitt, an anti-abortion activist who has a 4-year-old child with Down syndrome and runs an adoption agency, said in an interview that she was pleased with the vote - both because it will protect kids like her daughter Lucy, and also because it advances the anti-abortion cause. Although Oklahoma lawmakers voted in March to ban abortions on children with Down syndrome, a court order has blocked the law.
The bill makes it illegal for a doctor to perform an abortion knowing the fetus has been diagnosed with or is likely to have Down syndrome from a prenatal test.
But state Rep. Sarah LaTourette, a pro-life Republican who sponsored the House version of the bill, said the abortion statistics for unborn babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are staggering, according to the Toledo Blade.
"I'm more than glad to say that, of course, I would sign that", Kasich who now has 10 days to sign the bill into law said.
On Ohio Gov. John Kasich's desk is a bill sent to him this week by the General Assembly, that would make it a crime to abort a baby exclusively because the unborn child has Down syndrome. A federal court has struck down a similar law in Indiana. Proponents of the bill argue that the number of chromosomes shouldn't determine one's right to life.
In August, CBS News claimed, "Iceland is on pace to virtually eliminate Down syndrome through abortion".
"Ohio Right to Life is grateful that our pro-life legislators took a stand against discrimination and abortion", said Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life.
He further added: "A prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome should not mean a death sentence". While it is often linked to significant medical issues such as heart defects and respiratory and hearing problems, many people born with Down syndrome can live full, healthy lives, with an average lifespan of around 60 years.
The bill divided the disability community, with some saying the bill ends discrimination and others saying it will not help Ohioans who have the genetic disorder.
"This encourages women to withhold information from their doctors, and it prevents them from having open and honest conversations to be able to make the most informed decision", said Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union. "That's something that I find absolutely unacceptable". A CBS News report earlier this year shocked the nation by reporting that Iceland has an nearly 100-percent abortion rate for unborn babies with the genetic disorder.
Studies indicate unborn babies with Down syndrome are targeted for abortions at very high rates.
One of the key advocates of the OH bill is Kelly Kuhns, a Plain City mother and nurse whose son has Down syndrome. She said she's against the bill as it's written.
"They tell you of these horrific things that can happen, the different anomalies, cardiac issues", she told the AP.
Today, her son Oliver, 2, is doing well. "When we open our hearts, minds and societies to people with Down syndrome, we learn that they are capable of leading fulfilling and joyful lives".
Kuhns is advocating for the OH legislation to help children like her son.