Pa. Republicans push to ban Down syndrome abortions

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WYTV) – Republican lawmakers in Harrisburg are making another push to outlaw abortions.

Pennsylvania is the latest state to push for a law targeting women who want an abortion because the baby has Down syndrome. Supporters say they are protecting those with disabilities.

“Down syndrome is a life worth living,” said Karen Gaffney, an outspoken advocate for people with disabilities.

Gaffney is the first person with Down syndrome to swim the English Channel.

On Monday, she spoke out about a pair of bills being introduced in the legislature.

“People who have fought all the odds and they’re living, and growing and contributing in the communities where they live,” Gaffney said.

House Speaker Mike Turzai and Republican Sen. Scott Martin unveiled House Bill 2050 and Senate Bill 1050. They would make it illegal for a doctor to perform an abortion solely because the fetus has Down syndrome.

“Every human life is worth living and has dignity — every human life,” Turzai said.

Supporters include the Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg, which says every life is worth protecting.

“None of us are perfect, none of us. Folks with Down syndrome deserve protection,” Martin said.

Spokesman for Gov. Tom Wolf, J.J. Abbott, said, “The governor believes health decisions should be made between a woman and her doctor — not politicians in Harrisburg.”

The bills are similar to legislation passed in North Dakota, Ohio, Indiana and Louisiana and introduced in Utah.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in Ohio is filing a lawsuit against the law, calling it unconstitutional.