South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) — a rising star in the conservative movement — introduced legislation Monday to ban abortions based solely on Down syndrome diagnoses.
“The Declaration of Independence summarizes what we all know in our hearts to be true: God created each of us and endowed all of us with the right to life,” Noem said in a statement released Monday. “This is true for everyone, including those with an extra chromosome.”
Noem’s proposition comes just days after President Joe Biden celebrated the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 decision on Roe v. Wade, which gave legal cover to abortion nationwide. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris refused to reference abortion by name in their joint statement, instead calling it “reproductive health” and the “right to choose.”
In early January, ahead of her State of the State Address, Noem appeared on “Fox & Friends” alongside Rachel Campos-Duffy and former Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) and their daughter Valentina, who has Down syndrome.
“I don’t think it is a coincidence that she is a mom and this is coming out of a mom governor,” said Campos-Duffy of Noem’s proposed pro-life law. “I would just say to any woman who has a diagnosis — who gets that call from the doctor just like I did — Valentina has given me as much joy and pride as any of my other little babies, and she is an American and she has the right to live just like everybody else.”
Speaking of Duffy’s daughter, Noem said “her little face shows what a blessing that she is to this family.”
In her press release, Noem also pointed to reporting on the European countries of Denmark and Iceland, where it’s suggested they have successfully eliminated children suffering from Down syndrome.
A closer look at the stories, though, makes clear the countries haven’t eliminated Down syndrome. Instead, they are just aborting those babies at very high rates. According to the Catholic News Agency, the Danish National Board of Health reported in 2019 that “95% of pregnant women whose fetus is found to have chromosomal abnormality opt for an abortion.” Only 18 children diagnosed with Down syndrome prenatally were born in Denmark in 2019. The same thing is happening in Iceland, according to CBS News, where “close to 100 percent” of mothers “who received a positive test for Down syndrome terminated their pregnancy.”
The conservative governor concluded her statement by saying she would like to see the high court’s ruling on abortion overturned. However, in the meantime, Noem said she is “asking the South Dakota legislature to pass a law that bans the abortion of a preborn child, just because that child is diagnosed with Down syndrome.”