North Carolina ban on Down’s syndrome abortions goes to governor


RALEIGH, North Carolina – Senators from North Carolina on Thursday approved a bill prohibiting women from having an abortion on the basis of race, gender, or a prenatal diagnosis of Down’s syndrome.

He is now heading to Democratic Governor Roy Cooper, who is unlikely to sign him, having rejected previous anti-abortion restrictions.

Abortion rights groups say the Republican-led bill, which has been universally opposed by Senate Democrats and backed by just six Democratic House lawmakers, would prevent women from having conversations open with their doctors and deny their constitutional right to an abortion. He cleared the Senate Thursday by a 27-20 vote.

If it were to become law, House Bill 453 would require abortion providers in North Carolina to sign a declaration confirming that a woman is not seeking to terminate her pregnancy to avoid having a child with Down’s syndrome or a child with Down’s syndrome. baby of an unwanted race or sex.

Republican supporters say prenatal tests that confirm the presence of Down syndrome can sometimes be inaccurate, prompting women who otherwise would not do so to terminate their pregnancies. Senator Joyce Krawiec, a Republican from Forsyth County, said the measure prevents discrimination and “modern-day eugenics.”

“Children shouldn’t have to take a genetic test to gain the right to be born,” Krawiec said.

The North Carolina Values ​​Conservative Coalition supports the bill.

Some Democratic lawmakers have warned that the bill could force women to have pregnancies if they notify their doctors that a prenatal diagnosis of Down’s syndrome was factored into their decision not to continue with the pregnancy, even if it didn’t. was not the motivating force.

Senator Sarah Crawford, a Democrat who represents Franklin and parts of Wake County, described how she has personally experienced joy in serving children and adults with disabilities through her role as head of the Tammy Lynn Center for Developmental Disabilities . But she acknowledged that some parents may not feel equipped to care for a child with Down syndrome and said those parents shouldn’t be forced to give birth.

“This bill is not about the joy that people with disabilities bring to the world,” Crawford said. “This bill aims to control women. As simple as that. “

The American Civil Liberties of Union of North Carolina and Planned Parenthood South Atlantic are urging Cooper to reject the proposal.

“Politicians should never have control over private family decisions or force a person to carry a pregnancy against their will,” said a statement from Susanna Birdsong, North Carolina director of public affairs for Planned Parenthood South Atlantic .

Cooper’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the proposal.


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Anderson is a member of the Associated Press / Report for America Statehouse News Initiative corps. Report for America is a national, nonprofit service program that places reporters in local newsrooms to cover undercover issues.


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