The US state of West Virginia has banned abortion of foetuses with Down syndrome and other disabilities. .
The “Unborn Child with Down Syndrome Protection and Education Act” prohibit patients from terminating a pregnancy based on the possibility that the foetus may develop a disability. The law goes into effect on June 10 of this year.
Abortion providers will have to ask each patient if they are choosing to terminate a pregnancy based on a potential disability. Providers will then have to submit a statement to the state confirming that is not the reason. Medical practitioners which do not comply with this law could lose their licences. Patients would face no penalties.
West Virginians for Life said that the law would protect the lives of those with Down syndrome.
Here in West Virginia, families whose children are diagnosed with Down syndrome or other disabilities face enormous pressure to abort. Most of these families succumb to the pressure to abort their disabled children. It is estimated that as many as 90% of these babies are aborted.
Abortion providers, on the other hand, believe that the law will undermine trust between patients and doctors and limit abortion access. Katie Quiñonez, of Women’s Health Center, the only abortion clinic in West Virginia, told the legislature before the vote:
“It is going to force providers to interrogate their patients’ reasons for having an abortion, that is not okay. It could force patients to be in a position to lie to their physicians, that is not okay. And it will force physicians to potentially refuse care to patients, which is also not okay. And then it will force patients to potentially have to travel hundreds to thousands of miles away to get the care that they need. All of that is not okay.”