Three Points on Ohio's Proposed Down Syndrome Abortion Ban

Fetuses Are NOT Human Beings! Women ARE Human Beings, and MUST Have the Rights of Personhood!

September 7, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


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Ohio's proposed law H.B. No. 135 would ban abortions that are sought because of a fetal diagnosis of Down syndrome and make it a felony for providers to knowingly perform abortions under such circumstances. The state could also revoke a provider's license. The fact that this is even being considered is outrageous!

1. Forced Motherhood is Female Enslavement!

Forced motherhood happens within a larger societal context, where women are raped, beaten, harassed, demeaned, degraded—treated as property, breeders and sex objects. When women are not allowed to decide for themselves whether to become a parent, then they are often trapped in abusive relationships, pushed into (or further into) poverty, and their lives and dreams are foreclosed.

Parenting a child—including a child with Down syndrome—can be wonderful, if that is what you want to do, and you're able to do so, but forcing women into motherhood against their will, by denying them the right to abortion, is wrong! This is even more so the case when women are forced to continue a pregnancy that would bring into being a child with severe disabilities. This is a life-long commitment, and the emotional and social burdens are full-time.

2. Abortion Providers Are Heroes!

Abortion providers already face attacks every day, including the threat of murder, and heroically continue to provide women with access. They should NOT be further criminalized and demonized by any law!

Under this Ohio law, abortion providers may find themselves in a position where they are forced to choose between patient confidentiality and avoiding felony charges and/or their license being revoked. It will have a chilling effect on doctors and their patients holding forthright and private conversations about their circumstances, diagnosis, and medical care. It could easily impact what treatments and tests abortion providers might be inclined to prescribe, which would negatively impact women's health. Women need to be able to talk with their doctors openly, without fear of the doctors being prosecuted. This is even more the case when considering the extra demands and burdens of carrying to term a fetus with disabilities.

3. Fetuses Are NOT babies  

To propose an anti-discrimination law to protect the “rights” of fetuses implies that fetuses are somehow people. Anti-discrimination laws apply to people, not fetuses! If fetuses are people, then women are no longer human beings in the eyes of the law; reality is turned on its head, pregnant women's rights are subordinated, and women become state-mandated incubators. (See “What Is an Abortion and Why Women Must Have the Right to Choose—Life Cannot and Should Not Always Be Preserved”)

For all the hype about the lives of “babies,” the anti-abortion, Christian-fascist-led movement to end all abortion, and even birth control, does not have the interests of women, or children—disabled or not—at heart. This battle over abortion has always been about control over women, and what the anti-abortion movement is fighting for has everything to do with the re-assertion of traditional patriarchy.

Consider the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” and how it was applied in Indiana: not to enact antidiscrimination laws to protect LGBT people, but to prevent any laws from being passed to protect the rights of LGBT people, and to protect “religious freedom.” Such laws offer a thin mask of legitimacy to cover over and strengthen ugly bigotry, oppression, and prejudice rooted in Christian fundamentalism. (See “Indiana’s anti-LGBT Discrimination: A Fascist Law, a Storm of Protest”) The same is true of fetal “personhood” laws—they masquerade as “concern for babies,” when really those laws objectively serve to dehumanize and attack women. An example of this, among those currently auditioning to head up this system, is Mike Huckabee, who finds it morally acceptable to agree with a law in Paraguay that forced a ten-year-old victim of incest to carry her stepfather's fetus to term.

This is not the first time that the anti-abortion movement has set legal precedent and twisted anti-discrimination laws to apply to fetuses. In 2013, North Dakota made it illegal for a doctor to perform an abortion because of fetal genetic anomalies, including Down syndrome. Indiana, Missouri and South Dakota considered similar laws this year. Seven states—Arizona, Kansas, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and South Dakota—have laws banning abortions if the reason is gender selection. In 2012, the U.S. House of Representatives considered (but rejected) such a measure as national law.

This is the current direction, where women are increasingly forced into motherhood, into the back alleys, and criminalized and even jailed for miscarriage or self-inducing abortion. (See “The Outrageous Imprisonment of Purvi Patel and the Wake-Up Call to Everyone: The Fascist War on Women MUST BE STOPPED!Abortion is a basic, liberating, and fundamental right that women MUST have if they are to be able to chart the course of their own lives. Women are half of humanity, and if women cannot even make the essential decision about when and whether to become mothers, if women are forced into motherhood against their will for any reason, then they are enslaved. If women are not free, then no one is free.

Abortion on Demand and Without Apology!

Fetuses Are NOT babies, Abortion Is NOT Murder, and Women Are NOT Incubators!



To learn more about the fight to break the chains and unleash the fury of women as a mighty force for revolution:

Break ALL the Chains! Bob Avakian on the Emancipation of Women and the Communist Revolution

A Declaration: For Women's Liberation and the Emancipation of All Humanity


End Pornography and Patriarchy: The Enslavement and Degradation of Women section of this website



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