COLUMBUS, Ohio — A federal judge appointed to the bench by then-President Barack Obama has granted a preliminary injunction against an Ohio law that banned mothers from killing their unborn child just because he or she has Down syndrome.
“The State cannot dictate what factors a woman is permitted to consider in making her choice,” wrote U.S. District Judge Timothy Black on Wednesday. “The State’s attempt to carve out exceptions to a categorical right where none exist fails as a matter of law.”
As previously reported, the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio (ACLU), two local branches of Planned Parenthood and several other abortion facilities filed a lawsuit last month to challenge the new Ohio law, stating that it “undermines [the abortion facilities’] mission to honor and support the decisions their patients make, whether it is to continue or to end a pregnancy.”
The legal challenge also suggested that the “right decision”—life or death—is different for each mother.
“For many families, the right decision is to continue the pregnancy and parent a child with Down syndrome; for some, it is to give birth and place the child for adoption; and for others, it is abortion,” it claimed. “… Plaintiffs wish to continue providing safe and nonjudgmental abortion care to patients who have knowingly and voluntarily decided to terminate their pregnancies, regardless of the particular reason for the decision.”
On Wednesday, Black sided with the abortion advocates, stating that Down syndrome babies are not persons, but only “potential” lives that aren’t protected under the law until viability.
“[T]he State repeats its argument that H.B. 214 serves the public interest by preventing ‘unequal treatment for individuals who have Down syndrome.’ H.B. 214 does not affect any ‘person,’ as that term is used in the Constitution, with Down syndrome, and the State’s interest in potential life (emphasis in original)—whether couched as anti-‘discrimination’ or otherwise—does not become compelling until viability,” he wrote.
“As the top law enforcement official in the nation, United States Attorney General, Jefferson B. Sessions III, forcefully reminded the country recently, in a different context: ‘Federal law is the law of the land.’ … And federal law is crystal clear: ‘a State may not prohibit any woman from making the ultimate decision to terminate her pregnancy before viability,'” Black argued.
“Here, Ohio’s new law wrongfully does just that: it violates the right to privacy of every woman in Ohio and is unconstitutional on its face.”
However, as previously reported, in his 1854 lecture at the University of Pennsylvania on criminal abortion, obstetrician Hugh Hodge declared, “[I]t seems hardly necessary to repeat that physicians, medical men, must be regarded as the guardians of the rights of infants.”
“But unfortunately, the physician will be soon conversant with cases where mothers have no wish to preserve the intra-uterine being,” he lamented. “The dread of suffering, fears respecting their own health and strength, the trouble and expense of large families, and professedly, also, the responsibility incurred in the education of children, these and other reasons equally futile and trifling, operating on minds ignorant of the importance of fetal life, or may it be upon those whose understandings are weak or whose hearts are vicious, induce them to destroy the product of that conjugal union for which marriage was instituted.”