Anyone who has met a child or a person with Down syndrome knows that they are a gift from God. Their beautiful smiles and unique personalities bring such joy and warmth into our lives. And yes, God saw fit to bless these children with an extra chromosome.
Unfortunately, not everyone recognizes these wonderful children for the gift that they are. Recent media reports share the sad reality that some European countries, like Iceland and Denmark, have virtually eliminated children with Down syndrome by aborting nearly every child that has it.
We want to protect children with Down syndrome in South Dakota from being similarly discriminated against just for having an extra chromosome. That’s why I introduced legislation to ban abortions based on a diagnosis of Down syndrome.
Research estimates that two out of every three Down syndrome pregnancies in the United States end in an abortion. And tests to diagnose Down syndrome can be conducted as early as 10 weeks into pregnancy. In South Dakota, we’ve already worked to ban abortions after 20 weeks, and my proposal would protect children with Down syndrome even before that.
The Declaration of Independence summarizes what we all know in our hearts to be true: God created each of us and endowed all of us with the right to life. This is true for everyone. It’s true for every preborn child. And it’s true for those with an extra chromosome.
I look forward to the day when the Supreme Court recognizes that all preborn children inherently possess this right to life, too. Until that time comes, I am asking the South Dakota legislature to pass this legislation.
Science continues to reinforce the pro-life cause. It seems that every time we learn something new in developmental science, we discover that babies develop even faster than we previously realized. I am confident that as the science continues to develop, we will find more and more proof that preborn children are just as human as you and me, and they are just as deserving of constitutional protections.
I will continue to fight every day to protect the lives of preborn children. Just like I promised you all, I assigned an Unborn Person Advocate in my office to recommend legislative and policy changes that protect life.
When I gave my State of the State address earlier this year, I invited two families who I have known for years: the Fite family from Platte, South Dakota, and the Duffy family from Wisconsin. Two of their children, Cody Fite and Valentina Duffy, have Down syndrome. Cody and Valentina’s presence in Pierre that day brought a delight to the Capitol that is seldom seen
We will continue working to pass this and other proposals in the future to protect children like Cody and Valentina. Let’s make South Dakota a symbol of hope, justice, and love for them and so many other children yet to be born.