Thursday, June 14, 2007

A New Law In Missouri Regarding Down Syndrome

On one of the DS listservs I am on, someone posted the information below about a new law in Missouri which requires all doctors to give correct and necessary information to women who are given a prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome. Praise God for this law!

May the ACOG NOT win and may this law be upheld!

As you will see in the article below, we now have in my state of
Missouri a new law requiring physicians to give important information to
women when they are given a prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome. This
was accomplished by Senator John Loudon. He has taken a lot of flack
over it and the way it came about.

I thought you all would also find this new law encouraging as it will
hopefully stem the tide of abortions of babies with DS.

Unfortunately, the ACOG is intending to sue, at least over the midwifery
part - I'm not clear on whether they still want to strip out the part
dealing with Down Syndrome - they did during the legislative process.

-Anne, mom to Lydia, DS, age 7 and her three big sisters

Loudon's letter in Sunday St Louis Post-Dispatch

Priority: Safe births

I supported tort reform and sponsored medical malpractice insurance reform
so obstetricians would not leave Missouri because of high insurance costs.
This and my desire to see babies born safely prompted my insertion of the
midwifery and Down syndrome language into House Bill 818, recently signed
by the governor.

My wife and I prefer hospital births, but find it shocking that Missouri is
the only state where midwifery is a felony. Majorities in the House and
Senate supported my bill ensuring licensure restrictions on midwifery. When
one senator filibustered, thwarting the voice of the Legislature, we
employed the constitutional measure allowed for this purpose.

More than 90 percent of fetuses identified with Down syndrome are aborted.
But the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists wants all
fetuses tested for Down syndrome.

Lobbyists obstructed my efforts to change these provisions. Lobbyists know
it is easy to kill a bill รข?" you only need to buy one senator's filibuster.
This is an abuse of the process. When trying to face that filibuster, there
are choices. You can compromise. We did. You can negotiate. We did. In the
end, when the other side doesn't budge, constitutionally there is one
option, which we exercised.

I used HB 818 to counter the mandate to test fetuses for Down syndrome and
to defelonize midwifery. ACOG attacked the midwifery language but not the
Down syndrome language but tried to strip both from the bill.

Missouri women, not the state, now decide where to deliver their babies.
Mothers carrying babies with Down syndrome will have full information (high
false-positive rates, available resources, adoption options) before making
critical choices. My hope was that defelonizing midwifery would bring ACOG
lobbyists to the table to create a law that works for both sides. I
extended the invitation again, but they intend to sue.

This is personal to me. Our baby, Robert, hospital-birthed by an
obstetrician, would not be here but for the pre-natal suggestion of a
midwifery advocate regarding an undiagnosed clotting disorder that caused
three prior miscarriages. We also adopted a precious little boy with Down
syndrome, Samuel, and we are passionate about his right to be alive. I
think all Missourians should have the access I had. ACOG's threatened suit
would block that.

State Sen. John Loudon | R-Chesterfield

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