Scholar Worries Pro-Life Laws Will Lead to More Down Syndrome Babies, Make Red States 'Outliers in the Whole Developed World'


A liberal scholar suggested on Wednesday that pro-life laws in red states would lead to the birth of more babies with Down syndrome, hurting the popular perception of conservatives in those states.

“You can’t screen for Down syndrome before about 10 weeks, and something like 80% of Down syndrome fetuses are aborted,” Richard Hanania, president of the Center for the Study of Partisanship and Ideology, tweeted.

“If red states ban abortion, we could see a world where they have five times as many children with Down syndrome, and similar numbers for other disabilities.”

Hanania then said red states could become “outliers in the whole developed world.”

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“There are already negative stereotypes of Americans in these states, one can imagine it getting much more extreme,” he said.

“What if they also ban genetic engineering and embryo selection, while other places go ahead?”

“Will they maintain their belief in a small safety net and lower government spending in such a world? Would liberals change their minds about government spending if it ends up going to states that have much higher costs due to these laws? Many interesting things to think about,” he added.

Should it be illegal to abort a baby due to a diagnosis of Down syndrome?

One in every 700 babies in the U.S. is born with Down syndrome, according to the National Down Syndrome Society.

It is unclear how many babies with Down syndrome are aborted, but one 2012 study estimated the abortion rate for such babies was 67 percent.

A 2011 study found that almost 99 percent of people with Down syndrome said they were happy with their lives and loved their families.

Hanania, a former research fellow at Columbia University who has written for The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“I didn’t even say it was *bad* that people in Red States could create a world where they have 5 times as many people with DS and other diseases,” he wrote in a later tweet.

“The ‘pro-life’ crowd jumped to the conclusion that more disability is bad. Tells you something, doesn’t it?”

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Hanania’s comments received criticism on social media.

“Have you ever met a kid with Down syndrome, Richard? I have,” tweeted Rachel Bovard, senior director of policy at the Conservative Partnership Institute.

“He’s one of my brothers. Downs kids are pure joy. Setting public policy thresholds for what constitutes a ‘worthwhile’ human life is eugenics. Even Planned Parenthood isn’t dumb enough to say this out loud.”

WARNING: The following contains graphic language that some readers will find offensive.

“I’m perfectly happy with a world with more people with Down syndrome in it,” tweeted podcast host Allie Beth Stuckey. “I’m sorry you aren’t. Big eugenicist energy.”

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