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Senate committee approves so-called "Down syndrome abortion ban"

Senate Bill 164 would ban abortion when a fetus is diagnosed with Down Syndrome. (WSYX/WTTE)

There was emotional testimony at the Statehouse over the controversial so-called "Down syndrome abortion ban" Tuesday.

Supporters and opponents testified in front of the Senate Health Committee before committee members approved the bill, sending it to the Senate floor for a vote.

Senate Bill 164 would ban abortion when a fetus is diagnosed with Down Syndrome.

Supporters for stricter abortion laws in Ohio call it a historic day.

"Why should we live in a state where discrimination still exists? Why should we live in a state where people with disabilities are having lethal discrimination imposed upon them daily?" said Michael Gonidakis, the President of Ohio Right To Life.

There were tensions as both sides gathered and spoke in the committee room.

"The Ohio legislature really should trust women and the doctors to make these healthcare decisions," said Jaime Miracle, the Deputy Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio.

Some stood in support, while some family members of people with Down Syndrome shared their opinions.

"This bill sends a really clear message that some disabilities are more worth life more than others," said one parent of a child with Down syndrome. The bill is set to go to the Senate floor for a vote. Supporters say they have a majority in the Senate. A similar bill passed the house.

Right to Life Ohio is confident Governor John Kasich will sign the measure lawmakers choose, potentially before the end of the year.

Opponents said they will keep fighting and this law will be difficult to enforce and costly.

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