Today your State Senator is back in Harrisburg to finish out the remainder of the 2017-2018 legislation. There are only ten session days left on the Senate calendar for them to consider and vote on the Down Syndrome Protection Act, House Bill 2050.
Here are ten reasons why we need this bill to pass:
1. Children with Down syndrome are being targeted for abortion. Many in the medical community assume the default position upon a diagnosis of Down syndrome is abortion and pressure parents into terminating their unborn child.
2. At least two-thirds of babies that receive a prenatal diagnosis for Down syndrome are aborted. The numbers are sadly even staggeringly higher in some other developed countries – 90 percent in the UK. Iceland reports an almost 100% abortion rate for babies so diagnosed.
3. Prenatal testing for Down syndrome is about to skyrocket. The number of new noninvasive prenatal testings administered is about to quadruple over the next five years. The main purpose of these prenatal tests is to identify Down syndrome for the encouraged option of abortion.
4. This prenatal screening is going to wipe out the progress made by families and advocates for people with Down syndrome.
5. Several disability support groups in Pennsylvania are advocating for the Down Syndrome Protection Act. “Please work toward the passage of the Down Syndrome Protection Act,” says Joni Eareckson Tada (Joni and Friends in Lancaster and Souderton). “We want a society which safeguards its most vulnerable populations; a society that truly cares about those who are weak.”
6. Many still label people with Down syndrome with a stereotype that limits what many are now capable of. From a college graduate to a Life Scout, here’s just a brief glimpse into what children and individuals with Down syndrome in Pennsylvania are contributing to their family and community: pafamily.org/alifeworthliving
7. Pennsylvania already bans abortion based on the sex of the baby. If we already protect unborn children being targeted for sex-selective abortion, why are we not protecting babies targeted for having potential disabilities like Down syndrome?
8. Pennsylvania lawmakers have shown a commitment to caring for those with disabilities. Our State Senators and Representatives have helped increase state funding for intellectual disability services by 95% over the past eight years. Last year, they helped launch the landmark PA ABLE program, which provides tax-exempt accounts for individuals with qualified disabilities – including Down syndrome – and their families. PA ABLE is expected to save participants $14,000 a year and help to pay for a wide range of disability-related expenses.
Passing the Down Syndrome Protection Act should be the logical next step by our state legislature in continuing to show support for those with disabilities.
9. We have an opportunity to override Governor Wolf’s probable veto. The PA House of Representatives passed the Down Syndrome Protection Act with a bipartisan 71% majority, which is enough to override a Governor’s veto should the State Senate pass HB 2050 with a two-thirds majority as well.
10. It’s the right thing to do. We should all be able to agree that in growing a more inclusive Pennsylvania that no one should ever use Down syndrome as the sole reason for an abortion.
Please contact your State Senator and ask to pass the Down Syndrome Protection Act. To email, go to pafamily.org/downsyndrome.