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Rubio, Inhofe, Colleagues Reintroduce the Protecting Individuals with Down Syndrome Act

Jan 29, 2021 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and their colleagues in reintroducing the Protecting Individuals with Down Syndrome Act (S. 75) which would ban a doctor from performing an abortion being sought because the unborn child has Down syndrome. Congressman Ron Estes (R-KS) re-introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
 
In addition to Rubio and Inhofe, Senators Steve Daines (R-MT), James Lankford (R-OK), John Thune (R-SD), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), John Barrasso (R-WY), Tom Cotton (R-AR), James Risch (R-ID), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), John Boozman (R-AR), Cynthia Lummis (WY), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Ben Sasse (R-NE), John Hoeven (R-ND), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rick Scott (R-FL), and Mike Braun (R-IN) cosponsored the legislation. 
 
As prenatal screenings increase in availability and accessibility, more and more women learn whether or not their baby has Down syndrome prior to the baby’s birth. Sadly, many of these lives are aborted following a diagnosis—over two-thirds of unborn babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted in the United States, and the population of individuals in Iceland with Down syndrome is being virtually eradicated altogether. The Protecting Individuals with Down Syndrome Act would enact a federal ban on the performance of an abortion with the knowledge that a pregnant woman is seeking an abortion, in whole or in part, on the basis of a belief that her unborn child has Down syndrome. This legislation would not penalize the expectant mother in any way.
 
“The right to life is the most fundamental and sacred of all human rights, and it is unconscionable that some would deny an unborn baby that right because of a Down syndrome diagnosis,” Rubio said. “Every single human being – regardless of their chromosome count – is entitled to the protection of our laws from the very moment of conception. I celebrate the incredible contributions, talents, and joy members of the Down syndrome community bring to the world, and I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing legislation to protect and uphold their right to life.”
 
“Today, I am introducing a bill alongside my colleagues to prohibit abortions that are sought because of a Down syndrome diagnosis—something that should already be law,” Inhofe said. “All children should be given the chance at life and our friends in the Down syndrome community are no exception. To take away a child’s life because of his or her chromosome count is unthinkable and I am proud to take a stand today on behalf of those who cannot. As we mark the annual March for Life, we must continue to affirm the sanctity of life.”
 
For quotes from additional cosponsors, click here
 
Ten states (AR, IN, KY, LA, MO, MS, ND, OH, TN, UT) have enacted legislation to prohibit abortion on the basis of Down syndrome. Courts have enjoined the law in several of the states. Several additional states have introduced similar legislation. While the Supreme Court declined to take up Indiana’s Down syndrome abortion ban in 2019, Justice Thomas made it clear that the Supreme Court has not “decide[d] whether the Constitution requires states to allow eugenic abortions.”
 
The Protecting Individuals with Down Syndrome Act would: 

  • Make it illegal for a doctor to knowingly perform an abortion being sought because the baby has or may have Down syndrome, or, if the doctor does not know whether Down syndrome is a contributing factor, requires the doctor to first ask the mother if she is aware of any test results indicating that the child has Down syndrome and to inform her of prohibitions put in place by the law.
  • Prohibit anyone from forcing a woman to have an abortion because the baby has Down syndrome.
  • Impose a fine and/or imprisonment of up to five years on those who violate the law, and pulls federal funds under existing federal disability anti-discrimination laws from associated abortion clinics.
  • Protect the mother by barring her from being prosecuted or held liable for any violation of the bill and puts in place guardrails to protect her privacy in all court proceedings.