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A number of states have passed bills this year that ban abortion based on a Down Syndrome diagnosis, but the North Carolina legislature took the concept a step further by passing a bill that also bans abortions performed solely because of the baby’s sex or race.
House Bill 453, known as the Human Life Nondiscrimination Act/No Eugenics, prohibits abortions based on a diagnosis of Down Syndrome. In addition, if a mother tells an abortionist that she wants an abortion because the child is not the “preferred” sex or race, the doctor would have to deny her the abortion.
The bill states:
“Whereas it is well-established that human life begins at conception and continues in an unbroken progression through birth until death. Every individual on this continuum is a “human being,” meaning a member of the species Homo sapiens; and Whereas, all human beings, from conception through death, have intrinsic dignity and worth. Human dignity includes the inherent right not to suffer discrimination on the basis of innate characteristics, such as a human being’s race, sex, or genetic characteristics, including any genetic abnormalities.”
For this reason, the bill continued, “A person shall not intentionally or knowingly perform, induce, or attempt to perform or induce an abortion of an unborn child if the abortion is being sought because of the actual or presumed race or sex of the unborn child or because of the presence or presumed presence of Down syndrome.”
Sen. Jean Krawiec, who voted for the bill, told a Senate health committee that an estimated 70 percent of fetuses diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted, and that common prenatal screening tests also often result in false positives. “Should children have to pass a genetic test to earn the right to just be born?” she asked. “This is eugenics in its worst form.”
Likewise, Sue Swayze, state policy director for the Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life organization, said, “A disability diagnosis should never be a death sentence, especially in a society like ours that prides itself on diversity and inclusiveness. It’s time our laws caught up with our basic compassion and overwhelming public opinion.”
Several states have already passed abortions based on Down Syndrome, including Arizona, Tennessee, and South Dakota, and legislation is pending in Pennsylvania and Texas. What’s more, a federal judge recently ruled that Ohio’s Down Syndrome ban, which passed in 2017, can be implemented.
Unfortunately, Gov. Jim Cooper, D, is likely to veto the bill, just as he did the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act in 2019, which would have required doctors to provide life-saving care to any infant born after a botched abortion.
Ford Porter, a spokesman for Gov. Cooper, said of the “No Eugenics” bill, “The governor has concerns about putting government in the exam room between a woman and her doctor, and he will review the bill.”
In voting against the measure, Sen. Sarah Crawford, D, reasoned, “This bill is not about the joy that people with disabilities bring to the world. This bill is about controlling women. Simple as that.”
George Washington said, “It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one,” and what Porter, Crawford, and opponents of this bill offer as excuses are bad. Abortion advocates need to be honest and stop hiding behind rhetorical games like claiming that prohibiting eugenics is “controlling women.”
All law legislates morality, and all law restricts behavior. Claiming that a law stopping a woman from murdering her child because that child has the “wrong” chromosomal or racial makeup controls women is no different than saying that laws that prohibit murder, stealing, tax evasion, or any other crime control women.
As Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger conceived, other societies have used abortion as a means to commit eugenics against, in her words, the “unfit,” “defective,” or otherwise “objectionable.” These include China, whose one-child policies resulted in the abortion of 71 million girls, leading to an unbalanced male-to-female ratio today that has brought about devastating social consequences for the entire region. And Iceland’s one-two policy punch of giving every woman the option of a prenatal test for Down Syndrome and then allowing an exception for later-term abortions if a child has Down syndrome or some other fetal deformity has led to the virtual eradication of Down Syndrome births in Iceland.
North Carolina’s “No Eugenics” law does not harm women but actually prevents gender, racial, and disabled discrimination, something the left claims to support. As the bill notes, abortions performed based on sex have historically and overwhelmingly been because the baby is female, so how does this law control or hurt women? This law should be passed because it protects the most vulnerable of our society from the ultimate discrimination: being cast out and killed simply for being an undesirable sex, an objectionable color, or for not having the right genetics.