“The right to an abortion before viability is not absolute,” wrote Judge Alice Batchelder in the court’s majority opinion, adding, “Simply put, there is no absolute or per se right to an abortion based on the stage of the pregnancy.”
Ohio’s law H.B. 214 would make performing abortions based on a Down syndrome diagnosis - or the likelihood of such a diagnosis - subject to criminal penalties. Doctors would be in violation of the law if they knew the mother’s reason for seeking an abortion was a diagnosis of Down syndrome, or a belief that the child had Down syndrome.
Some pro-life advocates argue that the Supreme Court should now rule on the Ohio law, or on similar laws in other states.
In a statement, Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, said the ruling “upholds Ohio as a safe haven for unborn babies with Down Syndrome.”
“This law includes reasonable, compassionate measures to prevent lethal discrimination in the womb,” Dannenfelser said. She added that the law “has the potential to pose a significant challenge to Roe v. Wade.”
The court’s 1973 ruling in Roe found that women had a right to an abortion before the “viability” of the unborn child, but that states could regulate the issue once the child is viable. In the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey ruling, the court found that states could regulate abortion pre-viability, but could not pose an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to an abortion.