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Judge's Ruling Makes North Dakota First to Ban Abortions Based on Down Syndrome

John UpChurch | Friday, September 13, 2013

Judge's Ruling Makes North Dakota First to Ban Abortions Based on Down Syndrome

Earlier this year, Governor Jack Dalrymple of North Dakota signed legislation that banned abortions because of gender selection and genetic defects, such as Down syndrome. The state’s lone abortion provider, Red River Women’s Clinic (RRWC), immediately filed suit to stop these measures, as well as another provision that banned abortion as soon as a heartbeat could be detected.

However, U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland dismissed part of the suit this week at the request of RRWC, which claimed it never performed abortions for genetic or gender reasons. The dismissal means those two provisions will go into effect in the state.

Americans United for Life President Charmaine Yoest told the importance of this ruling:

“A civil society does not discriminate against people – born and unborn – for their sex or for disability. We should be celebrating diversity, not destroying it,” she said. “Women in particular have been targeted for death in the womb, and we’ve also seen dramatic abortion rates for children with disabilities which put them at risk for extinction.”

While RRWC claims they never perform abortions for such reasons, they also offered no proof that this was the case, nor did they explain why they initially challenged laws that have no bearing on their practice. In fact, claims that as many as 90% of parents choose to have an abortion when doctors detect a genetic “defect” before birth. In other words, just because RRWC may claim the abortion was simply a “personal decision,” they don’t have to find out (or document) the reason for it. Thus, they can skirt the law and declare ignorance.

The rise of gendercide in locations such as India, as reported yesterday, puts into perspective just how important these protections are. A case last month of a woman asking her neighbors to euthanize their autistic son also reveals a gradual devaluing of human life because of genetic disorders.

Perhaps the most difficult part of this case is the fact that such laws are needed at all. While the RRWC may say such things don’t happen, the incessant drumbeat of “choice” and the quick legal response suggest otherwise.

What’s your take? Do you think these laws will work to protect the unborn?

John UpChurch is the senior editor of and You’ll usually find him downing coffee at his standing desk (like a boss).

Judge's Ruling Makes North Dakota First to Ban Abortions Based on Down Syndrome