Justice Department backs Ohio Down syndrome abortion ban

Justice Department backs Ohio Down syndrome abortion ban
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The Justice Department sided with the state of Ohio on Wednesday on its legislation that outlaws physicians from performing abortions based on a diagnosis of Down syndrome.

In its filing, the federal government stated: "Nothing in Ohio’s law creates a substantial obstacle to women obtaining an abortion, and nothing in the Constitution or Supreme Court precedent requires States to authorize medical providers to participate in abortions the providers know are based on Down syndrome."

While the filing sides with the Buckeye State, the case will be reheard by the full 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, The Associated Press reports.


The retrial comes after a three-judge panel from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with a lower court in October that the 2017 law signed by former GOP Gov. John Kasich was likely unconstitutional.

The 2-1 ruling left in place an earlier hold on the law by a separate federal judge, according to the wire service.

If the law was to be enforced, physicians who performed an abortion after a diagnosis of Down Syndrome would face a fourth-degree felony charge, loss of medical license and held liable for legal damages.

The pregnant woman would not face prosecution.

The initial lawsuit against the Ohio state departments and officials was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Planned Parenthood and multiple abortion providers, the AP reports.