Today, the NC House gave bipartisan approval to the Human Life Non-Discrimination Act
(HB 453), which prohibits abortions based on race, gender or the diagnosis of Down syndrome. The legislation was introduced by Representatives Pat McElraft, John Bradford, Dr. Kristin Baker and Dean Arp.
"Every child, born and unborn, should be protected from discrimination, especially when it comes to terminating one's life because of race, gender or a genetic abnormality,"
said primary bill sponsor Rep. McElraft. "Over 70 percent of babies with a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome never get a chance at life. The state must do more to protect these children from discriminatory eugenic abortion."
Rep. Bradford, who has been a strong and outspoken advocate for the Down syndrome community, said, "Children shouldn't have to pass a genetic test to earn the right to be born. These individuals deserve a chance to live and this bill provides much needed discrimination protection."
Specifically, House Bill 453 would prohibit individuals from performing an abortion unless a physician has confirmed the abortion is not being sought because of the actual or presumed race or sex of the unborn child or the presence or presumed presence of Down syndrome
Dr. Baker also offered her support for the legislation, saying, "As a child psychiatrist and physician who has spent my life defending the most vulnerable, I think we as a society will be judged by whether or not we protect those who not or cannot speak for themselves. We should all be able to agree that no one should be denied the right to live because of his or her race, gender or disability."
Currently, six states have laws prohibiting abortions motivated by the race of the child and fourteen states, including North Carolina, have laws prohibiting sex-selective abortions. Nine other states have prohibited abortions motivated by a child's disability.
"An overwhelming number of North Carolina citizens oppose abortions that are performed because a child has a Down syndrome diagnosis,"
said Rep. Arp. "This bill prevents modern-day eugenics that eliminates people before birth because of their race, sex or disability due to Down Syndrome."
The legislation, which passed by a vote of 67-42, now goes to the Senate for further consideration.