Appeals Court Reinstates TN Down Syndrome Abortion Ban: ‘Lethal Discrimination Against Unborn Children’

Pro-life advocates are celebrating another victory in the battle to save the unborn after a federal appeals court reinstated a Tennessee law restricting abortions based on sex, race, or a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order Wednesday allowing the law to go back into effect after it was blocked last September. 

The court also refused to hear a challenge to the state law until after the U.S. Supreme Court hands down its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

Pro-life supporters believe that the abortion case is the most important in decades, saying it could even lead to a reversal of the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that invented a right to abortion in the U.S. 

CBN News previously reported that Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) enacted “reason bans” in 2020, which gained national attention because it prohibited abortion as early as six weeks and included several other pro-life components.  

Currently, more than a dozen states have similar reason bans in place. 

Anti-abortion group, Susan B. Anthony List welcomed the court’s recent decision. 

“The devastating toll of abortion on minority communities, people with Down syndrome, and thousands of missing baby girls is well-documented,” SBA List said in a statement. “Tennessee’s landmark pro-life laws reflect the overwhelming consensus of Americans who oppose lethal discrimination against unborn children and want far greater limits on abortion than our national status quo allows.”

Plaintiffs who oppose the measure include Tennessee abortion providers being represented by reproductive rights groups. They have argued that the ban was improperly vague, but the court disagreed.

Rabia Muqaddam, a staff attorney with the pro-choice advocacy group Center for Reproductive Rights, argued that the Tennessee law is “unconstitutional.”

“Pregnant people are the ones best suited to make decisions about their own pregnancies, and politicians should not get to interrogate a person’s reasons for seeking an abortion,” Muqaddam said in a statement. “These bans are blatantly unconstitutional.”

Down syndrome is a genetic abnormality that causes developmental delays and medical conditions such as heart defects and respiratory and hearing problems. 

According to the National Down Syndrome Society, about one in every 700 babies in the United States — or about 6,000 a year — is born with the condition, which results from a chromosomal irregularity.

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