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North Carolina's Governor Vetoes Bill Banning Abortions Based on Race, Sex or Down Syndrome Diagnosis

North Carolina's Governor Vetoes Bill Banning Abortions Based on Race, Sex or Down Syndrome Diagnosis

The governor of North Carolina has vetoed a bill that would have prohibited abortions on unborn babies who had been diagnosed with Down syndrome.

According to The Christian Post, Gov. Roy Cooper (D) said he vetoed House Bill 453, the “Human Life Nondiscrimination Act,” because it was “unconstitutional.”

Under the bill, abortions could not be performed because of race, sex and genetic characteristics or possible genetic abnormalities, such as Down syndrome. North Carolina law already bans abortions based on the sex of the baby, but the new proposed House bill would have added to the ban.

“This bill gives the government control over what happens and what is said in the exam room between a woman and her doctor at a time she faces one of the most difficult decisions of her life,” Cooper said in a statement.

“This bill is unconstitutional, and it damages the doctor-patient relationship with an unprecedented government intrusion.”

North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore, however, said the bill would have protected unborn children.

“Gender, race, and disability are protected classes in most other contexts. Why should we allow the unborn to be discriminated against for these same traits?” Moore said in a statement.

“The message sent by this veto is that some human life is more valuable than others based on immutable characteristics.”

NC Values Coalition’s vice president also released a statement, saying she hopes lawmakers can override the veto.

“North Carolina should be a state where differences are celebrated and all babies are welcome,” Julie Scott Emmons, the organization’s vice president, said. “We encourage members of the North Carolina General Assembly to embrace life and ensure that this legislation becomes law.”

House Bill 453 initially passed in the House of Representatives in May by a 67-42 vote. The bill then passed in the Senate earlier this month with a vote of 27-20.

Meanwhile, other states have successfully passed similar measures. In March, South Dakota’s governor signed a bill that prohibited women from seeking abortions based on the detection of Down syndrome. In April, Arizona’s governor approved a bill that also prohibited abortion solely because of a genetic abnormality such as Down syndrome.

Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Sara D. Davis/Stringer

Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and She blogs at The Migraine Runner.