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Tipsheet

Kentucky Legislature Passes Bill Banning Abortions Chosen Due to a Down Syndrome Diagnosis

Courtesy Warren family/Gerber via AP

The Kentucky legislature sent a bill to the desk of Gov. Matt Bevin (R) Wednesday that bans abortion based on the unborn child’s gender, race, or the prenatal diagnosis of a disability such as Down syndrome.

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Gov. Bevin has indicated that he plans to sign the legislation and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) promised a lawsuit if he does. Bevin told the ACLU to “Bring it” on Twitter Wednesday.

"We see this legislation for exactly what it is — part of a campaign to prevent a woman from obtaining an abortion if she needs one — and we won't stand for it," Brigitte Amiri, deputy director with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, commented.

States across the country are considering laws banning abortions that are chosen due to a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome, particularly since the majority of unborn children with the condition are aborted in many countries around the world.

A recent CBS report found a near 100 percent abortion rate for those diagnosed with the condition in Iceland. Denmark has a 98 percent abortion rate following screening and diagnosis of the condition and in France the number is 77 percent. The United States has an estimated abortion rate of 67 percent (1995-2011) for unborn babies diagnosed with Down syndrome.

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These numbers caused one human rights group to appeal to the United Nations, calling the high abortion rates a “contemporary form of eugenics and racism.”

The Supreme Court was asked last year to consider an Indiana law that is similar to the one in Kentucky and could weigh in on that in the near future.

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