Mar. 21, 2019

When abortion is mentioned, we split into two camps: pro-life and pro-choice. Instead of looking into areas we can agree on, we demonize the other side. There are issues where we should be able to find agreement on. One of those issues is preserving the life of healthy children who are diagnosed with Down syndrome.

Between 67 and 85 percent of pregnancies in the United States in which the baby has a Down syndrome diagnosis are terminated. That’s roughly 34,000 babies that aren’t given the chance to live because they are deemed defective and not compatible in today’s society. Iceland has already come out and reported that they have an almost 100 percent termination rate of unborn children diagnosed with Down syndrome.

Life truly is a precious and cherished gift. We as a Legislature, and as human beings, need to stand up and fight for the lives of all, including the unborn. Therefore, I am standing in support of and cosponsoring Rep. Kate Klunk’s (R-York) legislation, House Bill 321, to live up to my promise to protect and be the voice for ALL Pennsylvanians, particularly vulnerable babies who are still in the womb and would otherwise have no voice. This legislation would amend current Pennsylvania law to expand the exception to prohibit aborting a child solely due to a prenatal diagnosis that the unborn baby has Down Syndrome. Last session, similar legislation passed the House with a bipartisan vote of 139-56 and it is my hope that this session we can go one step further and get this bill signed.

Down syndrome is no longer a death sentence. Life expectancy for those with Down syndrome has increased from 10 years in 1960 to 60 years today. As a state, we have already stood up and said aborting a child based on their sex is illegal. It is time we as a state stand up and say it is illegal to abort a child because of a Down syndrome diagnosis.

Representative Matthew Dowling
51st Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

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