As the chair of the House Health Committee and co-sponsor of “The Down Syndrome Non-Discrimination Act,” it was my pleasure to work with representatives Sarah LaTourette and Derek Merrin to pass this important piece of legislation. The passage of this act, House Bill 214, through both the House and the Senate is a step closer towards ending discriminatory abortions based off of a Down Syndrome diagnosis.
This act will prohibit a person from performing, inducing, or attempting to perform or induce an abortion on a pregnant woman who is seeking the abortion because an unborn child has or may have Down Syndrome. Violation of the statute is a fourth-degree felony and would result in the State Medical Board revoking a physician’s license. A physician would also be liable for compensation to any person who sustains injury, death, or loss from the prohibited abortion. The legislation grants criminal immunity for a pregnant woman on whom it was performed.
My chairmanship allowed me to work closely on the bill and ultimately help secure the bill’s referral to the House floor. Both House Bill 214 and the Senate companion bill, Senate Bill 164, successfully passed through the House Health Committee. I was proud to vote in favor of the legislation alongside an overwhelming majority of my colleagues. This act resembles similar efforts in other states to prevent discriminatory abortions based off of genetic disorders. Its passage proves Ohio is dedicated to protecting each individual’s right to life.
Every life is equally valuable and full of potential, regardless of a test result received during prenatal screenings. These unborn children have the right to fulfill this potential without the opportunity being taken away before they are born. Deciding to abort an unborn baby diagnosed with Down Syndrome is discriminatory and ignores the plethora of other options available. Now that the bill has passed through the General Assembly, it is waiting to be considered by the Governor, and I am hopeful for his signature.
Steve Huffman is serving his second term as state representative for the 80th Ohio House District, which covers Miami County and parts of Darke County. He also is the former Miami County Coroner.