Down syndrome is a life meant to be lived: PA House passes Down Syndrome Protection Act

by | Jun 9, 2021 | Abortion | 0 comments

Bipartisan vote puts protecting unborn people with Down syndrome over extreme pro-abortion views of politicians like Gov. Tom Wolf.

A bipartisan majority of PA State Representatives voted to affirm and support people living with Down syndrome by passing the Down Syndrome Protection Act.

“We should all agree that Down syndrome is a life worth living and celebrating,” says Alexis Stefani with the Pennsylvania Family Institute. “If we support children and individuals with Down syndrome, then we must support the Down Syndrome Protection Act.”

The Down Syndrome Protection Act (House Bill 1500), led by State Rep. Kate Klunk (R-York), would protect an unborn child from being aborted due to a prenatal diagnosis of possible Down syndrome. Many Pennsylvania families have been subjected to doctors, nurses and genetic counselors pressuring them into ending the life of their preborn child just because of a diagnosis of Down syndrome. “We need to protect the most vulnerable members of the Down syndrome community from this modern-day eugenics practice of selective abortions and the stigma associated with their disability,” stated Stefani. 

By a 120-83 vote, the Down Syndrome Protection Act now moves to the PA State Senate.

“It’s cruel to see any politician choose to continue permitting eugenic practices by opposing this commonsense legislative effort. The extreme pro-abortion lobby erroneously claims this bill ‘severely limits’ abortion — which is utterly ridiculous,” added Stefani.

Parents of children with Down syndrome — and people with Down syndrome themselves – spoke out this past April in a hearing by the PA House Health Committee: 

  • Jessica Capitani, a Pennsylvania mother of a son with Down syndrome who was pressured by medical professionals to have an abortion upon the diagnosis – “I was tortured by this decision because of the pressure to abort a baby I loved. I cannot overstate the trauma I experienced as a pregnant woman having anyone suggest my baby was better off not being born, much less from medical professionals.”  
  • Dr. Justin Shaw, subjected to coercion by a genetic counselor to abort his baby with Down syndrome (provided written testimony) – “No one should be pressured into ending the blessing of a child with Down syndrome.”
  • Chloe Kondrich, disability rights advocate (who helped pass Chloe’s Law here in Pennsylvania) – “Please support and pass the Down Syndrome Protection Act because the world needs more people like me. Embrace, don’t erase, Down syndrome.” 
  • Karen Gaffney, President of the Karen Gaffney Foundation – “We passed laws that ended our lives spent in institutions for people like me. We passed laws that opened up the classroom doors for people like me. We improved our healthcare, and look at the results. We have made so much progress in the last 60 years. It makes no sense to ignore that progress and allow the prenatal testing industry to end our lives before we can even take our first breath. Down syndrome is a life meant to be lived.” 

“Doctors and medical professionals are pressuring families to abort their baby upon a diagnosis of Down syndrome,” adds Stefani. “This eugenics practice of aborting babies because they may have a disability needs to end here in Pennsylvania.” 

Last session, the bill passed with a bipartisan majority in both the PA House (Roll call: 117-76) and PA Senate (Roll call: 27-22), but it was then vetoed by pro-abortion Gov. Tom Wolf.

Pennsylvania Family Institute thanks State Representative Kate Klunk for her continued strong leadership in advancing the Down Syndrome Protection Act, along with State Senators Scott Martin (R-Lancaster) and Judy Ward (R-Blair) for their continued sponsorship and leadership on this issue in the State Senate.

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Pennsylvania Family Institute is the state’s leading pro-life, pro-family organization; encouraging responsible citizenship and engagement to see Pennsylvania as a place where God is honored, religious freedom flourishes, families thrive and life is cherished.