State bill would halt abortions on basis of race, Down syndrome

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 2, 2021

Associated Press

RALEIGH — North Carolina Republicans are looking to restrict abortions further in the state, filing a bill this week to prohibit the procedure if the pregnant woman is seeking it due to the unborn child’s race or the detection of the presence of Down syndrome.

The measure, filed in the state House, is the latest attempt by GOP lawmakers over the past decade to place what they say are additional safeguards so a fetus can grow to full term and delivery. A prohibition on sex-selective abortions — making a decision on whether the unborn child is male or female — became law in 2013.

“All babies, born and unborn, have intrinsic dignity annd worth and should be protected from the practice of discriminatory eugenic abortion,” Rep. Pat McElraft, a Carteret County Republican, said at a Wednesday news conference, organized by the North Carolina Values Coalition.

The coalition said nine states have barred abortions motivated by a child’s disability and six have barred them on abortions motivated by the child’s race.

Abortion rights groups oppose the measure, The Insider state government news service reported, saying these kinds of measures have nothing to do with ending discrimination.

“Instead, these types of arbitrary bans are part of a larger campaign to stigmatize abortion care, and make it more difficult for people to access the care they need,” NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina Executive Director Tara Romano said.