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Federal appeals court reinstates Tennessee’s ban on abortions based on a Down syndrome diagnosis or the baby’s race or gender


The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit partially reinstated a Tennessee law that bans abortions based on the race or gender of a baby as well as a Down syndrome diagnosis as it awaits a potentially landmark ruling in the Dobbs v. Jackson case.

Quick Facts

The 6th Circuit reversed its prior ruling, reinstating the ban on abortions for one of the previously mentioned reasons, but it did not reinstate the so-called heartbeat portion of the law, which banned abortion after six weeks’ gestation.

On the latter, the court indicated that it will wait until a Supreme Court decision is handed down in the Dobbs case, which could have implications for the viability standard that impacts the heartbeat ban in the Tennessee law.

Similar bans on so-called “eugenics” abortions, whereby women get abortions solely because they see something wrong with the child or something undesireable, have been proposed in other states; 16 of those states now have bans in place.

Arizona is one of those states. On signing the new law last April, Gov. Doug Ducey, R, said, “There’s immeasurable value in every single life — regardless of genetic makeup. We will continue to prioritize protecting life in our preborn children, and this legislation goes a long way in protecting real human lives.”

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem signed a bill banning abortion due to a Down syndrome diagnosis, saying, “I look forward to the day when the Supreme Court recognizes that all pre-born children inherently possess this right to life, too. Until that time comes, I am pleased to sign a ban on the abortion of a pre-born child, just because that child is diagnosed with Down syndrome, as well as several other important pro-life bills.”

Unfortunately, not all governors feel the same. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, D, vetoed the “No Eugenics” bill in June, despite it overwhelmingly passing the legislature with bipartisan support. He claimed that the bill — which would have required abortionists to “confirm before the abortion that the woman is not seeking an abortion because of any of the following: the actual or presumed race or racial makeup of the unborn child; the sex of the unborn child; the presence or presumed presence of Down syndrome” — was unconstitutional.

However, a month prior, the aforementioned Sixth Circuit did rule that a similar Ohio law, which bans doctors from performing abortions if they know that the reason a mother wants to kill her child is due to a Down syndrome diagnosis, is constitutional and allowed the legislation to go into effect.

It is not hyperbole to say that allowing abortions due to a Down syndrome diagnosis is eugenics. For evidence, just look at Iceland, which has made genetic testing so widely available in order to identify Down syndrome diagnoses and offer abortion for it that it has nearly eliminated Down syndrome births.

Geneticist Kari Stefansson explained, “My understanding is that we have basically eradicated, almost, Down syndrome from our society — that there is hardly ever a child with Down syndrome in Iceland anymore.”

When asked what the near 100 percent abortion rate of babies with Down syndrome says about the society, he answered, “It reflects a relatively heavy-handed genetic counseling. And I don’t think that heavy-handed genetic counseling is desirable.… You’re having impact on decisions that are not medical, in a way.”

He added, “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with aspiring to have healthy children, but how far we should go in seeking those goals is a fairly complicated decision.”

Other nations aren’t far behind Iceland. Denmark has a 98 percent termination rate, France is at 77 percent, and the U.S. is at 67 percent.

Many know someone or have met someone with Down syndrome. That person brings so much joy to the lives of their family and friends. And most are able to have a rather normal, productive life. They are valuable members of our society and they should be valued. Just imagine if the person speaking below, Frank Stephens, had been killed in the womb. As he said, “I am a man with Down syndrome, and my life is worth living!”

We are supposed to be an inclusive society, and yet two-thirds of unborn babies with Down syndrome or presumed Down syndrome are now aborted in the U.S. No parent hopes that their child has Down syndrome, but that doesn’t mean that the child should not be born nor does it mean that their parents regret choosing to let their child live.

This is a barbarous practice for a barbarous society that must be stopped. Many say they stand for the oppressed but support abortion on demand of children who simply have a different genetic structure. Perhaps no group in the world is as oppressed as those with Down syndrome, as they are currently experiencing genocide. Bravo to the states who are trying to stop it.

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