Pa. Senate committee advances bill to ban Down syndrome abortion

It is not clear when it will come up for a vote.

Tony Romeo
June 14, 2018 - 7:51 am

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — The Pennsylvania Senate has advanced a bill already passed by the House that would prohibit abortions based on a diagnosis of possible Down syndrome, but it is not clear when or if it will come up for a vote in the full Senate. 

Currently in the state, abortion is allowed during the first 24 weeks of gestation for any reason, unless the sole reason is the sex of the fetus. The bill, passed by the state House in April, would add a diagnosis of Down syndrome. Just before the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the measure, suburban Philadelphia Democrat Daylin Leach questioned how such a ban based on that diagnosis would be enforced.

"There is no requirement that her doctor inform the clinic, or that she inform the clinic," Leach said. 

Republican Scott Martin, sponsor of a Senate companion bill, counters that the measure would stop doctors from advising women to abort because her fetus might develop Down syndrome.

"I actually was reading a letter here earlier where a doctor was basically encouraging a woman," Martin said.

The majority leader of the Senate said Wednesday that no decision had been made about a full Senate vote on the bill.