6th Circuit Ponders Down Syndrome Abortion Law
Ongoing ArgumentThe case centers on an anti-abortion law signed by the governor in Ohio last year. HB 215 criminalizes "an abortion if the person performing the abortion knows that one reason, in whole or in part, for the woman's decision to terminate her pregnancy is a fetal indication of Down syndrome." Preterm-Cleveland and Planned Parenthood challenged the law, and Judge Timothy Black granted their motion for a preliminary injunction. He said it was unconstitutional on its face, and cited a decision by the Seventh Circuit. In argument to the Sixth Circuit, attorney Ben Flowers urged the justices to reverse the trial judge. He said his decision sent the message that "if you have Down syndrome, your life isn't worth as much." Judge R. Guy Cole Jr. asked Flowers about the Seventh Circuit decision: "This is a conflict we should create?" "Absolutely," the lawyer responded.
Ultimate DecisionJessie Hill, arguing for Preterm-Cleveland, said "the ultimate decision to terminate a pregnancy lies with the woman alone." She said she called the law "forced childbearing." She said the government must consider less restrictive alternatives to carry out its interests. The anti-abortion law, she said, "forces doctors to deny women their autonomy." Related Resources:
- Infomercial Mogul Loses Appeal After 12 Years in Prison (FindLaw's U.S. Sixth Circuit Blog)
- Can Inmates Be Given Vasectomies Instead of Jail? (FindLaw's U.S. Sixth Circuit Blog)
- United States Sixth Circuit Cases (FindLaw's Cases & Codes)
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