The Pennsylvania House voted 120-83 Tuesday to approve a bill to protect babies with Down syndrome from abortion.
The Down Syndrome Protection Act would make it illegal to perform an abortion because of a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome. If the bill were to become law, any violation would be considered a third-degree felony, and physicians who violate the law would have their medical license revoked. Women who undergo such procedures would not be held guilty, however.
“A diagnosis of Down syndrome shouldn’t be a reason to end a viable life,” said Rep. Kate Klunk, the bill’s sponsor. “Rather, each life should be celebrated. People with Down syndrome are some of the most caring, loving and nurturing people I have ever met. We must work to protect the Down syndrome community from the stigma it suffers from the practice of Down-syndrome selective abortions.”
Speaking in support of the bill, Rep. Kathy Rapp said: “People with Down syndrome are living longer than ever, and they’re happier than most of us. So why are many of them being aborted? Why? It’s a curious and heart-wrenching question, because there never has been a better time in all of history for people with Down syndrome.”
During the 2019 legislative session, Klunk authored a similar bill that passed the General Assembly, but Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed it, saying at the time: “There is no evidence that this bill is needed in Pennsylvania.” He has promised to veto this bill as well, tweeting on May 25: “House Republicans are advancing more anti-abortion bills today. Which is a waste of time, considering I’ve promised to veto every anti-abortion bill they’ve ever passed and ever will pass. … If these bills get to my desk, I will veto them.”
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