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The Ohio legislature is expected to approve a bill this fall that would make it illegal for doctors to perform an abortion if the reason the woman wants a termination is to avoid having a baby with Down syndrome. Since prenatal tests for Down syndrome are done in the second, or even the first, trimester, such a law is clearly in violation of Roe v. Wade, which said that women have a constitutional right to terminate their pregnancies until viability, which occurs in the third trimester. After viability, the court said, states may, if they choose, restrict or even prohibit abortions, unless such a restriction would threaten the woman’s life or health.

In the companion case to Roe, Doe v. Bolton, no specific mention was made of abortion for “fetal indications,” but “health” was interpreted broadly to include “all factors - physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman's age – relevant to the well-being of the patient.” This suggests that, prior to viability, the reason for wanting an abortion is irrelevant to the woman’s constitutional... see more