An Arkansas Senator is trying to save unborn babies who have been diagnosed with down syndrome. Senator Trent Garner is proposing a new law called the Down Syndrome by Abortion Prohibition Act. It will prevent women from aborting an infant due to a down syndrome diagnosis.
“From 1995 to 2011 over 67 percent of babies with down syndrome have been aborted.” said Senator Garner.
“We didn’t dream that we’d have a child with a developmental disability but our attitude was if we did we weren’t going to do anything about it.” said Debra Hobbs, whose son has down syndrome.
27 year old Johnathan Hobbs lives in Rogers. He was diagnosed with down syndrome as a baby. His mom Debra says having a child with a disability can be challenging but it’s also a blessing.
“Until you parent a child with a developmental disability you can’t full understand it. He took steps when he was four years old. When you see your friends who have little ones and they’re potty trained and running that was hard.” Hobbs said
As Hobbs enjoys a game of uno with her son — his favorite game — she expresses the amount of joy Johnathan has brought into their lives.
“Sometimes in the busyness of life and striving for perfection we fail to see those blessings that the children and adults with challenges are. I think they help make us better people.” Hobbs said.
Arkansas Senator Trent Garner is hoping to have more people like Johnathan in our society. On Friday, he announced a draft bill that would make it illegal for anyone to abort an infant due to down syndrome.
“What made me want to bring this bill about is that I heard a story about Iceland and they said that they got rid of down syndrome. I found out it was through abortion and i was shocked. That’s completely unacceptable.” Sen. Garner said.
But not everyone is on board with the proposed bill. Aaron Wilder, a spokesperson from Planned Parenthood released a statement saying, “Planned Parenthood Greatplains does not comment on legislation that is not filed. But any attempt to further restrict abortion is dangerous for the health and safety of women.”
But that’s something Senator Garner is prepared to fight in court.
“I think if you get it too broad then the court will probably will over rule it for the safety of the mother. I want to make sure that the language is very clearly so the court challenge that we’ll inevitably happen will be successful at it.” Sen. Garner said.
And as a mother of a child with down syndrome, Debra has a piece of advice, she says you just have to deal with the hand you’re dealt.
“Just accept that child and being the best mom to him or her you can be.” Hobbs said.
The soonest the proposed bill could be voted on would be in the 2019 legislative session.