Utah is the latest state to propose a law making it illegal to abort a baby simply because it has Down Syndrome. The condition is caused by a third chromosome 21, instead of the usual two, and can lead to some physical and mental abnormalities. Ohio, North Dakota, Louisiana, and Indiana have passed similar legislation.
Utah Rep. Karianne Lisonbee, the Republican who sponsored the measure, told CBN News widespread use of a relatively new Down Syndrome detection test combined with "misinformation" from healthcare providers has led to "a societal trend of practicing eugenics."
The screening involves a simple blood test that can be performed as early as ten weeks into pregnancy. Earlier tests were far less common because they occurred later in the pregnancy and involved analysis of amniotic fluid extracted from the placenta, a procedure that could jeopardize the baby's life.
Although there are no current official statistics citing the number of babies aborted after a Down Syndrome test comes back positive, estimates have it as high as 92-percent. About six-thousand babies are born with Down Syndrome in the U.S. annually.
Other countries claim an even higher number of aborted Down Syndrome babies. In fact, Iceland officials boasted virtually a 100% "eradication" of Down Syndrome thanks to their mandatory early detection test. In response, actress Patricia Heaton tweeted, "Iceland isn't actually eliminating Down Syndrome, they're just killing everybody that has it. Big difference."
— Patricia Heaton (@PatriciaHeaton) August 15, 2017
Rep. Lisonbee said America must take a different course than Iceland. "In the US we have repudiated any type of infanticide," she said, adding we must address our "values as a nation."
"I feel a great love for children and adults with Down Syndrome in our midst. They bring joy and happiness and they give so much," she continued. "As a society, the more we know these wonderful people, the better we are. We must let them live and that's so important."
Part of the Utah measure includes a provision mandating health care providers giving unbiased information to expectant mothers whose babies are diagnosed with Down Syndrome. Lisonbee said far too often doctors and nurses paint a gloomy picture of life with Down Syndrome and pressure the women to abort quickly.
Lisonbee said a woman whose prenatal screening revealed she was carrying a baby with Down Syndrome was told, "You need to abort that baby now. The baby will be a vegetable." Lisbonee said the woman chose to give birth to the child and "it is not vegetable status."
Likewise, CBN News profiled Cherry Jensen, a mother who was told by a doctor years ago her Down Syndrome child would have a poor quality of life and need to be institutionalized. Now that daughter has a job, a thriving faith in Jesus and volunteers at the hospital.
Other Down Syndrome success stories include Lucas Warren being chosen as The Gerber Baby. Stacy Spector told CBN News, "Lucas is the first child with special needs to receive the Gerber Spokesbaby honor and was chosen because of his expressiveness and winning smile. Every year, we choose the baby who exemplifies Gerber's longstanding heritage of recognizing that every baby is a Gerber baby, and Lucas is a perfect fit."