NC Values Statement on Senate Vote to Pass HB453

State Senate Votes to End Abortions Based on Race and Prenatal Diagnosis of Down syndrome.

“The Senate vote in support HB453, the Human Life Nondiscrimination Act, will save babies. Every innocent life is worthy of protection. The North Carolina Values Coalition calls on Governor Cooper to sign this bill to end discrimination based on race and stigma associated with prenatal screening tests that detect a diagnosis of Down syndrome. Children in North Carolina should not have to pass a genetic test to earn the right to be born” said Julie Scott Emmons, North Carolina Values Coalition Vice President.

According to a recent New England Journal of Medicine study, these tests can lead parents — and even their doctors — to believe their babies have major disorders when they are, in fact, healthy. If we want to eradicate discrimination predicated on race or disability, we must ensure that this protection begins in the womb.

We thank the Primary Bill Sponsors: Rep Pat McElraft (Carteret & Jones); Rep. John Bradford (Mecklenburg); Rep. Kristin Baker, M.D. (Cabarrus); Rep. Dean Arp (Union) for advancing a North Carolina bill to enact protections against the discrimination of unborn children.

The Senate vote was 27 to 20.


Background:

Every child should have the chance to live a full, happy life. In fact, persons with Down syndrome live full, beautiful lives. Science now projects the life expectancy of children born with Down syndrome to be more than 60 years, triple the expectation just a few decades ago. These children frequently acquire job skills and some degree of self-sufficiency as adults.

  • 6 states have laws prohibiting abortions motivated by the race of the child (AZ, IN, KY, MS, MO, and TN).
  • 14 states, including North Carolina, have laws prohibiting sex-selective abortions (AZ, AR, IL, IN, KS, KY, MS, MO, NC, ND, OK, PA, SD, and TN).
  • 9 states have prohibited abortions motivated by a child’s disability (AR, IN, KY, LA, MS, MO, ND, OH, and TN).
  • The population of people with Down syndrome in the U.S. is estimated to be over 400,000.
  • The 1964 Civil Rights Act and the laws of North Carolina protect against discrimination on the basis of race and disability.
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act and numerous state laws prohibit discrimination against individuals on the basis of a “real or perceived physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities”. The ADA also states that it is illegal to “violently harm” a person because of a variety of protected traits, including Down syndrome.
  • The Human Life Non-Discrimination Act enshrines this protection for people who have yet to be born.
  • This bill is part of a package of pro-life bills being filed in the North Carolina House and Senate.
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