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Kristi Noem proposes a ban on aborting babies who have Down Syndrome

Nathan Skates /

At her State of the State address, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem asked the legislature to pass a ban on aborting babies due to a diagnosis of Down Syndrome.

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At her State of the State address, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem urged the state legislature to pass a ban on abortions due to a diagnosis of Down Syndrome. Guests of Noem’s included families with children who have Down Syndrome. Noem called children with Down Syndrome a “gift” and affirmed the value each child has. She also pointed out that European nations abort a high percentage of children diagnosed with Down syndrome.

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Noem introduced the Fite and Duffy families at her address. Each of the families has a child with Down Syndrome. Noem described the children as gifts from God:

“Cody Fite and Valentina Duffy both have Down syndrome … God blessed these beautiful children with an additional chromosome. Their gorgeous smiles, distinct personalities, and that vibrancy you see before you are all gifts from God. For those who have had the privilege of knowing someone with Down syndrome, you know that person ends up being a gift to all of us.”

Noem continued,

“The Declaration of Independence summarizes what we all know in our hearts to be true. God created each of us and endowed all of us with the right to life. This is true for everyone, including those with an extra chromosome.”

The governor referenced the practice of several European nations to abort children diagnosed with Down Syndrome. In Iceland, nearly 100 percent of children diagnosed with Down Syndrome are aborted. In Denmark, about 98 percent of Down Syndrome children are aborted, while in the U.K. and France 90 percent and 77 percent, respectively, are aborted.

It isn’t just Europe that aborts babies with Down Syndrome, however. An estimated 67 percent of babies diagnosed with Down Syndrome are aborted in the United States.

Other states have passed bans on abortions because of Down Syndrome. In November, a federal appeals court upheld a Tennessee ban on abortion because of a Down Syndrome diagnosis. Three judges from the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a similar Arkansas ban but asked that the Supreme Court revisit precedent in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey.

Campos-Duffy praised Noem’s decision on Fox and Friends, saying,

“I don’t think it is a coincidence that she is a mom and this is coming out of a mom governor. At this time, especially, we are living in a time where so many people are being censored and I think Gov. Kristie Noem is giving a voice to a group of people who don’t have a voice, who don’t have a lobby, who don’t have anyone to fight for them other than their moms and good leaders like Gov. Noem.”

Noem summed up her remarks by saying,

“Let’s make South Dakota a symbol of hope, justice, and love for children like Cody and Valentina. With the help of several pro-life groups across the state, my team will present legislation for your consideration and swift passage.”

As Standing for Freedom Center Executive Director Ryan Helfenbein has said, “Abortion is the leading justice issue in the world today.” Abortion targets not only the most vulnerable in the obvious sense of ending the life of an unborn baby, but it disproportionately attacks minority communities and children with Down Syndrome.

Allowing abortion based on a Down Syndrome diagnosis is eugenics and it is genocide. In Iceland, Down Syndrome is being eradicated because nearly every child diagnosed with Down Syndrome is aborted. Helga Sol Olafsdottir, who counsels women who are told their child has chromosomal abnormalities, justifies it by saying:

“We don’t look at abortion as a murder. We look at it as a thing that we ended. We ended a possible life that may have had a huge complication… preventing suffering for the child and for the family. And I think that is more right than seeing it as a murder — that’s so black and white. Life isn’t black and white. Life is grey.”

We at the Freedom Center beg to differ. It is not a “thing” that abortion ends, it is a human life. While there are some situations in life that are difficult to parse, abortion is not one of them. Abortion is black and white. There is right and there is wrong, justice and injustice, and systematically targeting children with Down Syndrome by pressuring mothers to abort them is perhaps the greatest injustice of all.