Our friend J. Christian Adams alerted us to an incredible development in the fight to protect the unborn. This filing marks a significant moment. The Trump Justice Department has been more active in defending pro-life legal positions than any prior administration, perhaps since Ronald Reagan observed Mr. Adams.
President Trump’s Justice Department Civil Rights Division filed the brief arguing that Ohio’s law prohibiting abortions based on the presence of Down syndrome is constitutional, arguing in pleadings in federal court that the unborn have federal civil rights that must be protected.
Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband, who heads the Civil Rights Division, filed the brief. Dreiband said, “Ohio’s Antidiscrimination Law affirms that people with Down syndrome have lives worth living and protecting.”
Dreiband’s brief rightfully conjures history said Adams.
Less than a century ago, abortion and sterilization were tools of racist eugenicists who sought to tamp down the black population. Abortions occurred because American elites wanted fewer poor blacks. Shortly after that dark era in American history, Europe also slid to the bottom of the slippery slope. Aktion T4 “was a program to eradicate the imperfect and undesirable. Children and adults with defects were euthanized by doctors in hospitals dedicated to the medical eradication of those with birth defects or other imperfections.”
Doctors today urge mothers to abort children with Down syndrome because of the cost and strife of raising children who have it. In the 1940s, A New People, the monthly magazine of the NSDAP Bureau for Race Politics” proclaimed:
60,000 Reichsmark is what this person suffering from a hereditary defect costs the People’s community during his lifetime. Fellow citizen, that is your money too.
Targeting the disabled for elimination was not confined to just Nazi Germany. The impulse to eliminate the disabled runs through recent history. Dreiband’s brief is not out on a limb to conjure the slippery slope.
The Justice Department brief specifically says that the unborn with disabilities are worthy of civil rights protections and of life. The brief argues that the unborn should not have life terminated because they have a disability.
The Ohio law prohibits abortion providers from performing abortions when the provider has knowledge that the unborn child is being targeted for an abortion because of Down syndrome.
The nwitimes.com reports Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill Jr. also submitted a “friend of the court” brief that states should have the right to limit abortion based on the woman’s reason for choosing the procedure to prevent eugenic targeting of certain characteristics.
“Technological advances have heightened the eugenic potential for abortion, as abortion can now be used to eliminate children with unwanted characteristics, such as a particular sex or disability,” Hill writes, quoting Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion in the Indiana case.
A 2016 Indiana statute, similar in intent to the Ohio statute and signed into law by now-Vice President Mike Pence, required a pregnant woman who learned her child would be born with Down syndrome, another genetic disease or physical deformities that weren’t immediately lethal, to carry the pregnancy to term and give birth.
The Supreme Court said the question of whether Indiana may prohibit the knowing provision of sex-, race-, and disability-selective abortions was not yet ripe for a ruling, since no other circuit courts have yet to consider the constitutionality of such restrictions.
Hill suggested, and we hope he is right, that a decision by the full appellate court in Ohio in favor of the state’s Down syndrome abortion prohibition immediately could send the issue of “discriminatory” abortions back to the nation’s high court for a final, nationwide ruling.
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Photo “Donald Trump” by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. CC BY 2.0.