By Dave Andrusko
I have long believed that a critical point of vulnerability for the any and all abortion, at any time throughout pregnancy crowd are abortions performed for the specific reason that the baby has been diagnosed with Down syndrome. We’ve posted and reposted literally dozens of stories on the subject.
NRL News Today has often included excerpts from circuit court opinions which support a law, such as Ohio’s H.B. 214, that “prohibits a doctor from performing an abortion if that doctor knows that the woman’s reason for having the abortion is that she does not want a child with Down syndrome,” as stated by Judge Alice M. Batchelder in her majority opinion.
Pro-abortionists have long since said adios to their once-preferred public posture: those abortions ought to be “safe, legal, and rare.” However, “discrimination-motivated abortions,” (as pro-life Wyoming State. Rep. John Romero-Martinez puts it) require “progressives” to abandon any pretenses.
Enter Los Angeles Times we’re-not-fooling-around editorial, “The right to an abortion means the right to have it for any reason.”
The editorial laments, of course, the “hundreds of unjustified restrictions that state legislatures have passed in the last decade to curtail a woman’s right to an abortion up to the point when a fetus is viable outside a woman’s body (roughly 24 weeks into a pregnancy).”
But they are particularly angry over the “recent passel of laws that bar women from having an abortion for certain reasons — for example, to select the child’s gender or to avoid a genetic anomaly like Down syndrome,” even though these laws “have often been blocked by courts.”
To be clear, as Judge Batchelder made clear, until and unless the Supreme Court rules otherwise, a woman can abort a child because she learns her unborn child has Down syndrome. Period. One of the “passel” of laws, in this instance, says only that the abortionist cannot abort the child if he knows that is the reason this life will be “terminated.” Needless to say getting an abortion under these circumstances requires a wink and a nod.
The Times editorial feigns sorrow about how the law may work against protecting people with Down syndrome from discrimination. “And did it occur to state legislators and the appellate judges that the more deeply and candidly a woman can discuss her options and possible decision with her doctor — who may also be the one performing the abortion — the more information she may get about Down syndrome, which could help to overcome the stigma the law cites?”
Really? Are we supposed to believe that hard-core pro-abortionists, such as the op-ed page writers for the Los Angeles Times, are really concerned that these laws are “counterproductive”? Please.
Indeed, having pretended for a whole paragraph that this had anything to do with anything other than erecting fortifications around abortion on demand, in the very next sentence we read, “But at the end of the day, it is still an unconstitutional ban on abortion…”
At the end of the day, the end of an “unwanted” child’s life is all that matters.
Let’s take a moment to refer back to Judge Batchelder’s majority opinion that upheld Ohio’s Down Syndrome Non-Discrimination Act, H.B. 214. Judge Batchelder summarized the state of Ohio’s view of the benefits of the law in this manner.
Ohio asserts that H.B. 214 furthers three valid and legitimate interests by protecting: (1) the Down syndrome community from the practice of Down-syndrome-selective abortions and the stigma associated with it; (2) pregnant women and their families from coercion by doctors who advocate the abortion of Down-syndrome-afflicted fetuses; and (3) the integrity and ethics of the medical profession by preventing doctors from becoming witting participants in Down-syndrome-selective abortions. These are legitimate interests.
As for whether the law imposes an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to obtain an abortion, she concludes
We hold that the restrictions imposed, or burdens created, by H.B. 214 do not create a substantial obstacle to a woman’s ability to choose or obtain an abortion. Moreover, those restrictions are reasonably related to, and further, Ohio’s legitimate interests. Therefore, H.B. 214 is valid in all conceivable cases and the plaintiffs cannot succeed on the merits of their claim.
Judge Stuart Sutton in his concurrence asked
How did it happen that an anti-eugenics law is not the kind of law that reasonable people could compromise over in the context of broader debates about abortion policy? …
The National Constitution permits States to convey their interest in the dignity of all human beings in all manner of ways. Most basic of all, a State may seek to avoid the stigma that comes with publicly acknowledged discrimination against the born and the unborn based on disability, sex, and race.
Of course, the Los Angeles Times editorial board would cry foul. The “right” to abortion is absolute, without room for any limitation, no matter what, they’ve proudly announced.
That may be the viewpoint in the lofty corners of elite (and one-time elite) newspapers. It is not the view of a growing number of states and public opinion.