HB 1500

Left to right: Republican House Reps. Joe Hamm, Clint Owlett, David Rowe, Stephanie Borowicz and Kate Klunk.

Harrisburg, Pa. – A bipartisan group of lawmakers on Wednesday reintroduced a bill to ban abortions based solely on the prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome.

The bill passed both chambers last session but was vetoed by Governor Wolf. Rep. Kate A. Klunk and dozens of co-sponsors recently reintroduced it.

Under the measure, abortions would be deemed "not necessary" if sought only because a fetus has Down syndrome. Physicians performing such abortions would commit a third-degree felony and have their license revoked.

"Most of us know of a family touched by a Down Syndrome child, and know these children grow to lead joyful and fulfilling lives," Klunk said in the bill's memo.

Currently women can obtain abortions prior to 24 weeks gestational age if a physician deems it necessary, except if the sole reason is to select the sex.

Klunk's legislation would expand that restriction to include abortions sought exclusively due to a diagnosis of possible Down syndrome.

"Nothing in this proposal would interfere with the existing ability of a woman to obtain an abortion in cases of rape, incest or endangerment to the mother," Klunk said.

H.B. 1500 is co-sponsored by Republican Reps. Kathy Rapp, Aaron Bernstine, Stephanie Borowicz, Russ Diamond, Torren Ecker, Mindy Fee, Jonathan Fritz, Mark Gillen, Barbara Gleim, Keith Greiner, Seth Grove, Joe Joe Hamm, Doyle Heffley, Jonathan Hershey, David Hickernell, R. Lee James, Mike Jones, Joshua Kail, Rob Kauffman, Joe Kerwin, Jerry Knowles, Carrie Lewis Delrosso, Robert Mercuri, Daryl Metcalfe, Brett Miller, Clint Owlett, Trace Pennycuick, Tina Pickett, Brad Roae, Greg Rothman, David Rowe, Francis Ryan, Tommy Sankey, Stan Saylor, Paul Schemel, Louis Schmitt, Craig Staats, Perry Stambaugh, Kathlee Tomlinson, Jesse Topper, Tim Twardzik, Parke Wentling and David Zimmerman.

The bill has one Democratic co-sponsor, Rep. Anita Astorino Kulik.

It was referred to the House Health Committee.

Support our journalism

Our content is free, but our journalists work hard. 100% of your contribution to NorthcentralPa.com goes directly toward helping us cover the important news and events in our region. Thank you for saying that local news matters!