House lawmakers in North Carolina passed a bill last week that would prohibit “eugenic abortions,” which are classified as those due to race or a disability, like Down syndrome.
House Bill 453, the Human Life Non-Discrimination Act passed the full House on Friday in a 67-42 vote, according to the Associated Press. Under the terms of the bill, any physician who commits an abortion knowing that it is due to race or Down syndrome will face monetary penalties.
Many of the bill’s supporters have been lobbying in support of the bill throughout the legislative process, including families with loved ones who have Down syndrome. The bill is also backed by the North Carolina Values Coalition, which has launched a campaign urging pro-lifers to contact their state representatives. “This bill is not a sham,” Julie Scott Emmons, a representative from the NC Values Coalition, told the Associated Press. “It actually places a hedge of protection around an entire class of human beings who should not have to pass a genetic test to earn the right to be born.”
One of the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Pat McElraft, spoke of the bill’s importance. “It’s time to face the issue head-on and ensure that every little North Carolinian is protected from discrimination before and after birth,” she said.
“If we truly want to eradicate discrimination based on race or disability, we must ensure that this protection begins in the womb,” said Rep. Dean Arp, another of the bill’s sponsors. “We don’t want to be the kind of society that disposes of children because of the way God created them. North Carolina citizens do not want to be that kind of society either.”
The bill makes North Carolina one of a handful of states that have considered bills banning abortion because of a Down syndrome diagnosis. A federal appeals court in Ohio recently upheld that state’s Down syndrome abortion ban after years of lawsuits.
The bill now goes to the Senate. If it passes, it would face a likely veto from Governor Roy Cooper, who vetoed the state’s Born-Alive Survivor’s Protection Act in 2019. Cooper’s spokeswoman, Dory MacMillan, told the Associated Press, “Women should have access to comprehensive health care and difficult medical decisions should be between a woman and her doctor, without politicians trying to get in the exam room with them.”
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Author: Bridget Sielicki
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