HARRISBURG — The governor of Pennsylvania has signed a bill into law that aims to help save the lives of Down Syndrome babies who would otherwise be aborted.
The Down Syndrome Prenatal Education Act, otherwise known as “Chloe’s Law,” was drafted through the efforts of the Kondrich family of St. Clair, Pennsylvania. In 2003, Kurt and Margie Kondrich learned that they were pregnant with a Down Syndrome child, and became horrified when they learned that approximately 90 percent of women abort after receiving the diagnosis.
Kurt Kondrich left his career in law enforcement and began advocating for greater education and support for mothers, and the Kondrich’s daughter, Chloe, became the inspiration behind a bill introduced by Sen. Randy Vulakovich (R- Shaler Township).
“My legislation would simply require health care practitioners to provide complete information to women who receive a prenatal diagnosis for Down Syndrome so that they are better informed with regard to the positive outcomes of giving birth to a special child such as Chloe,” Vulakovich stated in April.
Chloe’s Law mandates that mothers are offered contacts for resource and support services, national and local Down Syndrome organizations and access to early intervention programs, which include in-home help and therapy. Women would also be educated on the life expectancy of Down Syndrome persons, which has increased from 20 years of age to 60, according to reports.
“I don’t want any expectant mother to feel that pain or confusion when they get a prenatal diagnosis. I want this law to give women hope,” Margie Kondrich told reporters. “Chloe was a blessing.”
The bill had been supported by a number of groups throughout the Commonwealth, including the Eastern PA Down Syndrome Center, Parent to Parent of PA and the Arc of Pennsylvania. Vulakovich’s office also noted that the bill was backed by Pennsylvania Physician General Carrie Delone, M.D..
But legislators in the Commonwealth were also overwhelmingly supportive of the effort, passing Chloe’s Law 50-0 in the Senate and 196-4 in the House.
On Friday, Chloe and her family joined Gov. Tom Corbett for the signing of the Down Syndrome Prenatal Education Act at William Tennent High School in Warminster. Sen. Pat Browne (R-Lehigh) and Rep. Bernie O’Neill (R-Buchs) were also present at the event.
Margie Kondrich told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Chloe, who has been reading since she was three years old, had an opportunity to read to the governor during her visit.
“[S]he helped change a state law, helped make it a better place,” she beamed.
“Chloe’s Law will ensure that families who are expecting a child like my daughter Chloe will receive factual, supportive information about the services and resources that are available and they will be able to see that children with Down Syndrome possess many abilities and are a priceless gift to their families and communities,” Kurt Kondrich stated.
The Kondrich family received the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Leadership Award in 2011 from the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation and continues to work to help mothers choose life.