Ohio Legislation: A Step Backwards


Oraida Rodriguez

John Kasich signed a legislation on December 22nd that prohibits women from receiving an abortion if their baby is revealed to have Down syndrome.

As society continues to grow at an exponential rate, one in every four women have received an abortion by the age of 45. Worldwide, abortions are known to be a hugely controversial topic due to the vast differences of religious and cultural ideas. Recently, this topic came into the discussion when the pro-life Governor of Ohio, John Kasich, signed a legislation that prohibits residents to receive an abortion if their baby is revealed to have the Down syndrome gene. This genetic condition is due to an error in cell division that can lead to many developmental issues within babies. In today’s society, there are many aspects that come into play when deciding to end a pregnancy. However, in this case, it can be the result of a couple’s financial situation since a baby with Down syndrome comes with many medical bills attached to it. According to the USDA, middle-income families should expect to spend about 241,000 dollars a year when having a child. This number can increase rapidly if the child has special needs due to the different types of therapies that they need on a daily basis. Examples of these therapies include speech and educational therapies that can range anywhere from 100 to 200 dollars an hour.

“If a woman finds out her child has a disability, she should be able to choose whether or not she wants to go down the harder route of parenting,” sophomore Oraida Rodriguez said.

For centuries now, women have fought a never-ending battle in order to gain their basic rights. Despite women having more rights in the twenty-first century, society finds itself in a conflict concerning the rights of a woman’s body. When the Governor of Ohio set this abortion law into motion, the U.S. once again took a step backwards in the fight for all rights for women. This law prohibits doctors from performing abortions on women who have been revealed to have a baby with Down syndrome. If a doctor were to break this law, then they would face a fourth-degree felony charge and would lose their license. Kasich signing this new legislation moves America one step backwards in the movement for women’s right. Although this abortion law only applies to the state of Ohio, it represents that women no longer have a say in their futures and are forced to become a parent no matter the circumstance they are in. In fact, Ohio’s new legislation can inspire other states to pass the same or similar abortion laws. This will create a domino-effect in which women will be denied their simple rights to do as they please with their bodies.

Additionally, in the past century, there have been new advancements in therapy and drugs that have further increased the life expectancy of babies with Down syndrome, causing 88% of people diagnosed to live up to 20 years old. Nonetheless, people still shy away from having kids with Down syndrome because they simply do not want to deal with the struggles that come with having a kid with special needs. Parents should have the right to abort a fetus if they believe that the upbringing of the child will be one in which the child will not benefit from it. Enforcing these restrictions on women can even lead to other dangerous alternatives, such as self-induced abortions, to end a pregnancy. Moreover, almost 68% of Republicans portray themselves as pro-life along with Kasich. They pushed forward for this new legislation because they wanted to stop the discrimination of kids with Down syndrome. However, it can be argued that they are using Down syndrome as a way to end abortions and further influence their political views. Despite their efforts to raise awareness for Down syndrome kids, they are now stripping women of their basic rights by not allowing them to have an abortion. Prohibiting the abortion of babies with this condition does not help parents out with the medical and economical issues they will face.

“It is not fair that another person can make such a life-changing decision. It is our body and our choice,” junior Nicole Baez said.

Some may argue that women should take responsibility for their actions because it is morally wrong of them to end a pregnancy due to unprotected sex. They view it to be cruel since women are basically killing a human who has no say in life yet, while discriminating kids with special needs. Additionally, they argue that instead of having an abortion, women can put their babies up for adoption. Putting babies up for adoption gives parents who do not have the ability to have kids a chance at having a family. Nonetheless, by giving babies with Down syndrome a second chance in life only creates an unbalance within adoption systems. In Asia, there are 3,572,000 orphans, with nearly 5000 children with Down syndrome who fail to get adopted. A lot of resources go into the care of orphans, especially those with Down syndrome. When a certain group of orphans struggle to get adopted, adoption centers become overcrowded and can no longer support new kids who also need to find a family. Moreover, putting babies with Down syndrome up for adoption is not in the best interest for the kids. Usually, when parents are looking to adopt, they want a healthy baby who can easily be integrated into the family. It is very unlikely that people will adopt children with Down syndrome since they do not want to invest the time and money, thus overflowing adoption centers with orphans that have special needs.

What these people do not understand is that children with special needs require both time and patience. Over 40% of families with children that have Down syndrome have had a family member stop working because of the child’s condition. Some women cannot afford to quit their jobs in order to care for their kid because they would not have a stable income to support their special needs kid.

The average sexual assault of women throughout a 5 year period

Moreover, every woman should have the right to choose what they do with their body, especially in cases where the woman is raped. If a woman who lives in the state of Ohio was raped and the baby was revealed to have Down syndrome, would she have the right to abort it? Due to Kasich’s new legislation, she would be denied her right to abort the baby despite the fact that she got pregnant against her own will. This proves to show that Ohio’s new rape law fails to accommodate to the different needs and situations of women.

At the end of the day, women should have the decision to end their pregnancy. Despite others not agreeing due to their religious ideals and political views, it is the woman’s body and her life; nobody should make such a life-changing decision for them. Before signing the legislation, the Governor of Ohio should have put himself in the position of these women and thought about the hard circumstances these mothers will have to face if they are forced to have a special needs child.