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Sixth Circuit Affirms Ohio’s Legal Protection for Down’s Syndrome Babies

WASHINGTON, DC—Americans United for Life heartily applauds the decision of the en banc Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals today that affirms the constitutionality of Ohio’s H.B. 214, which prevents abortionists from taking an infant’s life if he or she knows that the abortion is sought for discriminatory reasons. 

By a 9-7 decision of the full Sixth Circuit, the court held that the trial court erred by enjoining enforcement of the law on the ground that Roe v. Wade allows no exceptions to the constitutional “right” to abortion before the baby is viable. 

The court noted that “no one contends that the woman’s reason is ‘medically relevant’ to the procedure, and the plaintiffs’ expert candidly stated that it is not.” Concluding that the “right to an abortion before viability is not absolute,” the majority explained, “Simply put, there is no absolute or per se right to an abortion based on the stage of the pregnancy.” Ohio’s reasons for protecting human life from eugenic abortion are legitimate and important, the court concluded. Ohio was within its authority to send “an unambiguous moral message to the citizens of Ohio that Down syndrome children, whether born or unborn, are equal in dignity and value to the rest of us,” the majority observed. 

“The Sixth Circuit’s decision today is a ringing affirmation of the states’ lawful authority to protect the least of all its citizens from a death motivated by hateful discrimination against disabled persons,” said Americans United for Life Chief Legal Officer Steven H. Aden. “Already over a dozen states have passed protective laws like Ohio’s, and we expect to see many more states move to establish legal protections for the most vulnerable among us. Soon, we anticipate that the U.S. Supreme Court will weigh in on this debate and affirm that states have the lawful authority to defend all their citizens from unlawful discrimination, as Justice Clarence Thomas recently observed.” 

Americans United for Life (AUL) is a nonprofit, public-interest law and policy organization that holds the distinction of being the first national pro-life organization in America—incorporated in 1971. It protects and defends human life from conception to natural death through vigorous legislative, judicial, and educational efforts.

FOR MEDIA INQUIRIES, CONTACT
NOAH BRANDT, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR
press@aul.org or 202-741-4921