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House Committee Rejects HB 1240

February 20, 2014, 10:01 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

House Committee Rejects HB 1240

Abortion bills have seen different fates this year so far in Pierre.

A day after the House passed a bill that would prohibit abortions based on gender, a House committee didn’t pass a bill that would have ban abortions due to Down Syndrome.

Even though it didn’t pass, Rep. Isaac Latterell, (R) Tea, calls the Down Syndrome bill an important one. Two of his sisters have Down Syndrome; both were in the committee room Thursday when he defended the bill.

Latterell says his sisters are superior human beings, given an extra dose of love and joy.

"I hope you can see what a treasure my sisters are and how much they can teach us about what is truly important in life," Latterell said.

Latterell says abortions performed because of Down Syndrome diagnosis are a form of discrimination. His father, Jim, joined him in asking legislators to put a stop to it.

"Allow them to live, love and be a blessing to their families and communities," Latterell said.

"This bill is not about whether or not we value people with Down Syndrome. This is a bill about a woman's ability to have a choice," Susy Blake said.

A woman receiving an abortion would not have faced charges under the bill. Doctors who knowingly performed an abortion because of Down Syndrome would have.

Opponents argue the bill would have driven a wedge between doctors and patients because they couldn't share all information and concerns with each other.

"It deteriorates that level of confidence that a woman and her husband or her family must have with their physician in order to have good healthcare," Gary Snow said.

Supporters disagree, arguing that those with Down Syndrome also need to be protected before they're born.

In voting against it, Rep. Karen Soli, D-Sioux Falls, called the bill well intentioned, but she said there could be unintended consequences.

A vote to send the bill to the House floor ended in a tie before another motion to defeat the bill passed.

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