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Arkansas Bill pushes to ban abortion in Down syndrome cases



The bill was held in the Arkansas Senate Wednesday – the day before World Down Syndrome Day – with a 29-2 vote.

According to the state Sen. Trent Garner, who introduced the bill and is its main sponsor, the measure aims to limit Down's syndrome discrimination by making it illegal for a physician to perform or attempt to perform abortion based solely on a test that indicates Down's syndrome, a prenatal diagnosis or other reason to believe that an unborn child has the condition.

"I decided to push the bill out to protect those who were born differently," Garner told CNN. "Through the catastrophic abortion procedure, we lose valuable and special people from society."

Under the proposed law, a doctor should inform patients about the law, ask a pregnant woman if she is aware of test results and request medical records. He or she is forbidden to perform abortion for at least two weeks to get the records. There are warnings: A doctor can go through the procedure if the pregnancy damages the mother's or the unborn child's life or if it is a result of rape or incest.

If the measure becomes law, doctors who violate it would be subjected to a class D crime punishable by up to six years in prison, and his or her medical certificate would be revoked. The measure, known as Senate Bill 2, says that a pregnant woman who was aborted and uninformed about this law may seek harm, but if she knows the law and is aborted, she will not be punished.
Down syndrome is a genetic condition that affects cognitive ability, causing mild to severe learning disabilities and distinctive facial features. About 6,000 babies are born with Down's syndrome each year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This bill is not the first of its kind

If the measure becomes law, Arkansas would attend North Dakota and Utah, which have similar measures already passed as laws. Ohio and Indiana state passed comparable laws, but both were blocked by a federal judge in 201
8.
  New Ohio law prevents abortions in Down syndrome cases

Arkansas already has several laws limiting abortion, including a statute that prohibits abortions after 18 weeks, except in an emergency.

Karen Musick, a board member of the Arkansas Coalition for Reproductive Justice, a grassroots organization, says the Arkansas climate around abortion makes it harder for women who are already struggling with the decision to interrupt an unborn child.

The bill has nothing to do with the value of people living with Down syndrome. It does not improve the access to care or assistance with the enormous economic and structural costs needed to bring up a child with special needs, "the group said in a statement. 19659003] The group said it was not prepared to bring proceedings "There are too many [bills] to focus on," said Musick.

Sen. Garner, a Republican, says he feels convinced that the bill will pass in the House and be signed in law by Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson.

The House Committee on Public Health, Welfare and Labor will testify on the bill next week Wednesday.

CNN's Tony Marco contributed to this report. 19659017]
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