On March 24, Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed an abortion bill that would make Indiana the second state after North Dakota to ban abortion in cases of fetal anomalies.
Given the high abortion rates following the prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome, the bill aims to protect human life by preventing mothers from terminating pregnancies in cases of Down syndrome or other disorders, as well as on the basis of sex and race. It is being hailed by pro-life supporters as—in Pence’s own words—”a comprehensive pro-life measure that affirms the value of all human life.”
But does the bill go too far?
This specific issue transcends mere legal battles of controlling women’s right to choose, also tackling a moral question about choosing birth characteristics that has been considered a “slippery slope” towards eugenics.
Following the monumental decision made in Roe v. Wade in 1973, which decided abortion was a woman’s right when her life or the fetus’s were at stake, several states have made more specific laws outlining how, when, and why women can terminate pregnancies.
But is a disorder such as Down’s syndrome grounds for abortion? While these pregnancies only see about a 50% chance of making it to birth, the real battle often begins afterwards as mothers, parents, and families learn how to care for and support the special needs baby, and eventually, adult.
Regardless, and even taking Governor Pence’s pro-life stance into consideration, the bill seems like a surprising piece of legislation that heavily outweighs state rights over the rights of the individual. Even pro-life politicians in Indiana believe the bill, which is set to take effect in July, goes too far.
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