By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director, Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation
Despite repeated pro-abortion Democrat stall tactics, Pennsylvania’s Down Syndrome Protection Act advanced in the House of Representatives today. This sets the stage for a showdown vote on final passage as early as next week.
House Bill 321 is an important piece of disability rights legislation which would ban abortions when the reason given is a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome. A similar bill passed the House last year by an overwhelming, veto-proof, bipartisan majority. But the measure fell victim to election year politics and stalled in the state Senate.
Hopes are high for a better outcome in the Senate this time around.
During discussion of proposed amendments, the pro-abortion House minority leader, Rep. Frank Dermody (D—Allegheny and Westmoreland Counties) made a stunning admission: many more babies with Down syndrome will be born if the legislation passes. That prediction seems to be borne out by estimates that the vast majority of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted.
Parents have reported feeling pressured by doctors to abort babies with an extra chromosome. This, despite the fact that people with Down syndrome have made tremendous progress in recent decades.
For instance, back in the 80s the life expectancy for a person with Down syndrome was age 25. Today, the life expectancy has climbed to 60 years of age.
People with Down syndrome also contribute greatly to our society. They work, go to school, vote, have significant friendships, and ennoble our nation in many ways.