Florida’s Senators Got to Bat for Jim Inhofe’s ‘Protecting Individuals with Down Syndrome Act’

This week, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., doubled down on their support of a proposal “which would ban a doctor from performing an abortion being sought because the unborn child has Down syndrome.”

At the start of the year, the Florida Republicans joined more than a dozen other Republicans in the U.S. Senate in backing U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe’s, R-Okla., “Protecting Individuals with Down Syndrome Act.”

“As prenatal screenings increase in availability and accessibility, more and more women learn whether or not their baby has Down syndrome prior to the baby’s birth. Sadly, many of these lives are aborted following a diagnosis—over two-thirds of unborn babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted in the United States, and the population of individuals in Iceland with Down syndrome is being virtually eradicated altogether. The Protecting Individuals with Down Syndrome Act would enact a federal ban on the performance of an abortion with the knowledge that a pregnant woman is seeking an abortion, in whole or in part, on the basis of a belief that her unborn child has Down syndrome. This legislation would not penalize the expectant mother in any way,” Rubio’s office noted back in January.

“Today, I am introducing a bill alongside my colleagues to prohibit abortions that are sought because of a Down syndrome diagnosis—something that should already be law,” Inhofe said. “All children should be given the chance at life and our friends in the Down syndrome community are no exception. To take away a child’s life because of his or her chromosome count is unthinkable and I am proud to take a stand today on behalf of those who cannot. As we mark the annual March for Life, we must continue to affirm the sanctity of life.”

“The right to life is the most fundamental and sacred of all human rights, and it is unconscionable that some would deny an unborn baby that right because of a Down syndrome diagnosis,” Rubio said. “Every single human being – regardless of their chromosome count – is entitled to the protection of our laws from the very moment of conception. I celebrate the incredible contributions, talents, and joy members of the Down syndrome community bring to the world, and I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing legislation to protect and uphold their right to life.”

“Every child is a gift and deserves to be celebrated and loved,” Scott said. “I will always fight to protect every life, and I hope all of my colleagues join me in standing up for the right to live.”

This week, the senators joined Inhofe and other supporters in sending a letter to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., calling on them to have a vote on the bill.

“All individuals have inherent value, regardless of their age, status, disability, race, sex or any other factor,” the senators wrote. “Despite popular social narratives regarding the need to protect society’s weak and marginalized, unborn babies—the most vulnerable individuals in our society—are continually targeted through abortion.”

“We must protect babies with Down syndrome from being targeted for lethal discrimination by abortion,” the senators continued. “Therefore, we strongly urge you to bring the Protecting Individuals with Down Syndrome Act to the Senate floor for a vote during the June work period.”

In the meantime, the bill is before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill is not expected to clear the Democratic-controlled Senate.

U.S. Rep. Ron Estes, R-Kansas, is championing the bill in the U.S. House and U.S. Rep. Greg Steube, R-Fla., is a co-sponsor.

 

Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.

 

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