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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: December 8, 2020 01:01 PM
From: Senator Scott Martin and Sen. Judy Ward
To: All Senate members
Subject: Down Syndrome Protection Legislation
We plan to reintroduce Senate Bill 21, which will amend the Abortion Control Act to prohibit the abortion of any child solely due to a diagnosis of possible Down syndrome.

Under current law, a woman can obtain an abortion prior to 24 weeks gestational age for any reason if a physician deems it is necessary, except if the woman’s sole reason is to select the sex of the child. This bill will expand that exception to prohibit aborting the child solely due to a prenatal diagnosis that the unborn child may have Down syndrome.

Nothing in this proposal would interfere with the existing ability of a woman to obtain an abortion in cases of rape, incest or endangerment to the mother.

Just as gender cannot be a reason for abortion, neither should a diagnosis of Down syndrome. Most of us know of a family blessed with a Down syndrome child, and know these children grow to lead joyful and fulfilling lives. Some studies show that as many as 90% of children diagnosed in utero with Down are aborted.

A test result should not be a death sentence.

Although Act 130 of 2014, known as Chloe's Law, made progress educating parents regarding the quality of life that a person with Down syndrome can enjoy, the abortion rate for children with Down syndrome is still too high. It is time to protect Down syndrome children in the womb.

During the 2019-2020 session, a similar measure (HB 321) was approved by the House and Senate but vetoed by Governor Wolf.  We were extremely disappointed with the Governor’s veto but will continue to push for this legislation as we believe every child deserves and has the right to life and children with Down syndrome are no exception.

Please join us in supporting this incredibly important legislation.

Introduced as SB21