JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Sen. David Sater, R-Cassville, has pre-filed a bill which would ban the performance of abortion based on a diagnosis of Down Syndrome, calling it discriminatory.
The bill, SB 802, states that no person can perform or induce an abortion if they know that it is being sought solely because of a prenatal diagnosis, test, or screening indicating the potential of Down Syndrome. It would also require any physician performing an abortion to certify that he or she is not inducing the abortion for that reason.
If passed, the law would charge doctors who perform an abortion with Down Syndrome as the cause with a Class A misdemeanor, and would be subject to revocation of their license to practice medicine.
“Up to 90 percent of Down Syndrome babies in the womb are being aborted in the U.S.,” said Sater. “I think it is discriminatory and inhumane. Just because someone has an abnormality, I don’t think that is a good reason to have an abortion. Everyone deserves life, not just those children who some see as ‘perfect.'”
A group of medical analysts conducted a review in 2012 of all available research studies on the subject. It found that between 60 and 90 percent of pregnancies were terminated when the unborn child had a diagnosis of Down Syndrome.
“More and more, society is embracing empathy and understanding of our most vulnerable and those with disabilities,” Sater said. “Shouldn’t that extend to all life, starting with children in the womb?”
North Dakota currently has a law on the books that prohibits abortions based on “fetal genetic anomalies,” including Down Syndrome.
Charmaine Yoest, President of Americans United for Life, has praised proposals like that of Senator Sater.
“A civil society does not discriminate against people–born or unborn–for their sex or their disability. We’ve seen dramatic abortion rates for children with disabilities which put them at risk for extinction. We should be celebrating diversity, not destroying it.”
Sater was the initial sponsor of successful pro-life legislation in 2014 that extended the waiting period for an abortion from 24 to 72 hours. Sater has been continually honored by pro-life groups for his efforts, including by the Missouri Family Policy Council, who named him the 2014 Missouri Family Champion.
There is currently one abortion-performing clinic left in the state of Missouri after the Columbia Planned Parenthood lost their referral privileges.
Rachael Herndon was the editor at The Missouri Times and also produced This Week in Missouri Politics, published Missouri Times Magazine, and co-hosted the #MoLeg podcast. She joined The Missouri Times in 2014, returning to political reporting after working as a campaign and legislative staffer.
Rachael studied at the University of Missouri – Columbia. She lives in Jefferson City with her husband, Brandon, and their two children.