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House Votes To Ban Abortions Over Down Syndrome Diagnosis

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Matt Rourke
/
AP
The Pennsylvania State General Assembly in Harrisburg, Pa.

A proposal to prohibit abortions in Pennsylvania when the sole reason is that the fetus has or may have Down syndrome is headed to the state Senate after passing the House by a comfortable margin.

The Republican-majority House voted Monday 139 to 56 for a bill that supporters said would protect a vulnerable population.

Opponents argue it would violate the right of women to make their own decisions about abortion, and caution against forcing parents to raise children with the genetic chromosomal disorder.

Pennsylvania law allows abortions up to 24 weeks of pregnancy for any reason except to choose the gender.

A spokeswoman for Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf calls the bill "another example of Harrisburg Republicans exploiting vulnerable families and trying to undermine the doctor-patient relationship to score political points."