Pro-life Gov. Noem introduces bill to ban abortions based on diagnosis of Down Syndrome, “Born Alive” proposal passes South Dakota House of Representatives Committee

By Dave Andrusko

Pro-life measures are advancing fast and furious in South Dakota.

As she promised in her State of the State address, pro-life Governor Gov. Kristi Noem introduced a bill Monday that would ban abortions based on a diagnosis that the unborn child has Down syndrome. In addition a measure to require equal medical treatment of abortion survivors—the “Abortion Born Alive Bill” –passed out of the House Health and Human Services Committee on a vote of 10-3. The bill could be voted on in the House as early as this Thursday.

In her introduction, Gov. Noem wrote, “The Declaration of Independence summarizes what we all know in our hearts to be true: God created each of us and endowed all of us with the right to life. This is true for everyone, including those with an extra chromosome. I look forward to the day when the Supreme Court recognizes that all preborn children inherently possess this right to life, too.  Until that time comes, I am asking the South Dakota legislature to pass a law that bans the abortion of a preborn child, just because that child is diagnosed with Down syndrome.”

As NRL News Today has reported, virtually every baby diagnosed with Down syndrome in Iceland is aborted, 95% in Denmark are aborted (“In 2019, only 18 were born in the entire country,” according to the Atlantic), and 77% in France. Approximately two out of third babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in the United States are aborted.

According to Jonathan Ellis, writing for The Argus Leader, the Abortion Born Alive Bill 

required health providers to provide the same level of care to a baby born alive following a failed abortion as they would provide to a baby born under regular circumstances.

The bill also allowed mothers and children who survived abortions to bring lawsuits against doctors. It included a $100,000 civil fine for doctors who failed to provide care to a surviving baby, and it allowed those doctors to possibly lose their medical licenses.

A key feature, [House sponsor Fred] Deutsch said, was a requirement that abortion providers report instances when babies were born alive during abortion procedures.

“How do we know it doesn’t happen if we don’t track the data?” he said.

NRL News Today provided a lengthy excerpt from the Governor’s powerful State of the State speech on January 12:

Today, I am joined by two families that will help explain one of my priorities this session: the Fite and the Duffy families.  
Aaron and Tami Fite live in Platte, South Dakota, with their four children.  
Sean and Rachel Duffy live in Wisconsin. They have 9 children. And you might remember that Sean served with me while I was in Congress. 
I have known both families for years. The reason I asked them to join us today is to highlight two of their children.  

Cody Fite and Valentina Duffy both have Down syndrome. God blessed these beautiful children with an additional chromosome. Their gorgeous smiles, distinct personalities, and that vibrancy you see before you are all gifts from God. For those who have had the privilege of knowing someone with Down syndrome, you know that person ends up being a gift to all of us.  

I share this because even today, in 2021, some European countries, like Iceland and Denmark, are on pace to virtually eliminate children with Down syndrome. They do this one way and one way only: through abortion. As actress Patricia Heaton points out, Iceland is simply killing everyone that has it.  

As South Dakotans, frankly, as human beings, we should all be appalled by this. We are better than that. …

Let’s make South Dakota a symbol of hope, justice, and love for children like Cody and Valentina. With the help of several pro-life groups across the state, my team will present legislation for your consideration and swift passage. 
Aaron and Tami, Sean and Rachel would you and your families please stand. Thank you for being here. And thank you for being a voice for so many who can’t speak for themselves.