WASHINGTON — Ohio state lawmakers are considering a proposal to ban abortions in cases where the fetus is determined to have Down syndrome, placing a polarizing issue in the front yard of governor and presidential hopeful John Kasich.
Ohio state Rep. John Becker, who is co-sponsoring the proposed ban, told CNN’s “New Day” on Monday that even parents who are unequipped to raise a special needs child have options other than abortion, such as adoption.
“The idea is just because somebody is handicapped we don’t want to put them to death,” Becker said. “The pro-life movement really means pro life for all innocent human life.”
The measure also raises a tough question for Kasich — who has said he is anti-abortion rights, but also supports exemptions for cases involving rape, incest or the life of the mother. Those exceptions used to be widely supported among Republicans, but several candidates — including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee — have stated flatly that there should be no exceptions.
A Kasich campaign spokesman did not say Monday whether the governor would support the ban, citing the long prospects the measure faces in the Ohio Capitol.
“The governor is pro-life and believes strongly in the sanctity of human life, but we don’t take public positions on every bill introduced into the Ohio General Assembly,” Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols said.
Kasich has carved out a niche as a moderate Republican in the field, even winning praise from former NBA star Charles Barkley, who typically supports Democrats.
But abortion remains a tricky issue for Kasich, whose position on the issue has sounded different depending on the audience.
At a town hall meeting in New Hampshire last week, where many Republicans prefer social moderates, he touted his anti-abortion credentials. But when asked by a voter if he would respect he Supreme Court’s decision in “Roe v. Wade,” Kasich called it “the law of the land” and then moved quickly onto another question.