By Samantha Kamman, Abortion Columnist
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH — This month saw Salt Lake City governor Gary Herbert sign HB166 into law, prohibiting abortions on unborn children diagnosed with Down syndrome. The bill also requires the state Department of Health to ensure parents have proper information regarding the disability. Speakers including Lisa Wilson, a young woman with Down syndrome, urged lawmakers to support the bill.
Wilson stated how doctors said she would “never do anything.” Now an adult woman, Wilson read a letter before House lawmakers. Speaking before them, Wilson said:
“I am so grateful that I was blessed that I might live so that I could give and receive joy.”
HB166 is similar to a bill sponsored by Rep. Karianne Lionsbee which unfortunately did not manage to be brought up for a vote on the Senate floor despite receiving support from the House. To protect this current bill from a potential lawsuit, Lionsbee said a clause in the bill declared it would not take effect until a court ruled it constitutional. Comparing abortions on babies with Down syndrome to eugenics, Lionsbee stated:
“Social engineering is alive and well in Utah’s abortion clinics and doctor’s offices today as we see the eradication of babies with Down syndrome.”
But the president and CEO of the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, Karrie Galloway, was critical of the bill. She said that HB166 was about “restricting access to abortion,” and that it was important for abortion to remain a “safe and legal medical procedure for a woman to consider if and when she needs it.”
Utah joins states such as Indiana, Ohio, and North Dakota in passing legislation to protect unborn babies with Down syndrome. The issue remains relevant, as reports from CBS News indicate abortions after a Down syndrome diagnosis are at a rate of 67% in the US. While some estimate it may be 90%, the US has not reached Iceland’s numbers. Tragically, babies with Down syndrome are aborted at a rate near 100% there.