Nov. 19, 2019

HARRISBURG –Speaker of the House of Representatives Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) today announced that the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, chaired by Sen. Michele Brooks (R-50), reported legislation that protects the lives of unborn children who have been diagnosed with Down syndrome.

House Bill 321, sponsored by Rep. Kate Klunk (R-York), makes clear that an abortion provider cannot perform an abortion solely because of a Down syndrome diagnosis. The bill would not impact those instances in cases of rape, incest or personal endangerment.

“Those of us with Down syndrome and our families face a very difficult future,” Karen Gaffney said at a press conference last year. Dr. Gaffney, who has an honorary Ph.D., also said, “We face a possibility of wiping out all of the tremendous progress we have made. Just as we are making so much progress, a whole industry has grown up focused on prenatal screening – screening that would end our lives before we take our first breath. Now that you can test for Down syndrome before birth, there are many experts in the medical community that say this extra chromosome we carry around is not compatible with life. Not compatible with life. After everything we have done, I would say we are more than compatible. We are what life is all about. Our lives are worth living and our lives are worth learning about.”

“I applaud the Senate Health and Human Services Committee members who supported House Bill 321,” said Turzai. “Pennsylvania has not allowed an abortion based on the sex of the baby since 1989, when the state enacted a provision which has not been challenged in any court. Why then would we allow an abortion because of a Down syndrome diagnosis? These babies deserve a chance at life.”

Down syndrome is a congenital, chromosome disorder that occurs in approximately one of 830 live births. Down syndrome occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21.

“Each and every individual, from the womb until the last breath on earth, has dignity and worth,” Turzai said. “We provide state funding in the billions of dollars, as we should, to help individuals with disabilities because their lives matter. Every one of the 6,000 children born with Down syndrome in the United States each year is a beautiful, wonderful person with a meaningful life ahead.”

The bill now awaits consideration by the full Senate.

Representative Mike Turzai
Speaker of the House
28th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Christine Goldbeck
717.787.7977 (office) 570.205.0736 (cell) / /