Ohio can enforce ban on Down syndrome abortions: U.S. appeals court

(Reuters) – A federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday that Ohio can enforce a 2017 law banning abortions when medical tests show that a fetus has Down syndrome.

In a 9-7 decision, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati said the law did not create a substantial obstacle to a woman’s ability to obtain an abortion, was reasonably related to Ohio’s legitimate interests and was “valid in all conceivable cases.”

The law subjected doctors to up to 18 months in prison for performing abortions when they knew pregnant women decided to abort at least in part because Down syndrome was diagnosed in the fetus, or had reason to believe the condition was present.

Tuesday’s decision reversed a 2-1 ruling by a 6th Circuit panel in October 2019 that blocked enforcement of the law, known as House Bill 214.

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