Mary Margaret Olohan
The Florida house of representatives has passed a bill banning abortions based on disability, including Down Syndrome.
House Bill 1221, which passed the state’s house 77-44 and will now head to the Florida Senate, bans doctors from performing abortions if they know that the mother is obtaining an abortion because of a diagnosis that the unborn baby will be born with a disability.
Under the bill, if a doctor aborted an unborn baby based solely on disability, the doctor would be guilty of a third degree felony.
Republican Florida state Rep. Tyler Sirois compared abortions based on disability to tactics employed by Nazi Germany to weed out undesirables.
Pro-life advocates praised news that the bill had passed the Florida house.
“Florida is a strongly pro-life state, and its legislators are right to prioritize babies diagnosed with a disability, who are all too frequently targeted for lethal discrimination before they are given a chance at life outside the womb,” Susan B. Anthony List state policy director Sue Liebel said in a statement. “We strongly encourage the Florida Senate and Governor Ron DeSantis to follow their lead and be swift in passing and signing this bill into law.”
But pro-abortion advocates, like Florida Planned Parenthood Action, condemned the legislation and argued that it endangers a woman’s right to abortion.
“House Bill 1221 interferes with the patient-physician relationship and dictates what information a doctor can discuss with a patient, even when it goes against the best interest of the patient,” Florida Planned Parenthood Action said in press release calling on Floridians to call their local representatives and fight the bill.
Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.
The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals said in a 9-7 decision earlier this month that Ohio’s law banning abortions based on a diagnosis of Down syndrome was “valid in all conceivable cases” and did not substantially block a woman’s ability to get an abortion.
The Florida House will vote on an abortion ban bill this week. Call your local representative now and tell them to vote NO on HB 1221. https://t.co/qbjLqF0GV5— Florida Planned Parenthood Action (@FAPPA) April 20, 2021
The law was challenged by Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.
Circuit Judge Alice Batchelder wrote in the majority opinion that the law promotes Ohio’s interests through “protecting the integrity and ethics of the medical profession by preventing doctors from becoming knowing participants in Down-syndrome-selective abortions.”
“By involving the doctor in her personal decision to abort her pregnancy because the forthcoming child would be born with Down syndrome, the woman places the doctor in a position of conflicted medical, legal, and ethical duties,” Batchelder wrote.
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“The concept of ending a pregnancy based on a disability is modern day eugenics,” Sirois said, according to the Associated Press. “In the 1930s the Nazis worked to establish a master race. They sought to eliminate from the gene pool of any trait or condition that they deemed unworthy.”