Election day: Down syndrome & politics

IMG_2202[1]This week Americans will go to the polls to vote in the mid-term elections. But, on one policy measure concerning Down syndrome, political party is irrelevant.

This week, Americans will decide whether to vote for the Republican or Democratic candidate. Pundits are speculating whether Republicans will take back the majority in the Senate, how many seats they may gain in the House, and whether this is a referendum election on President Obama.

When President Obama was first elected, that may have been the high point for attention being paid to Down syndrome during a political campaign. This was due largely not to President Obama, but to the opposing presidential ticket, whose Vice Presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, was a mom to a baby boy with Down syndrome.

Many Americans regardless of political party affiliation have strong opinions about President Obama and Governor Palin. But, there is a policy issue concerning Down syndrome that has received broad support from both political parties.

The Down Syndrome Information Act

In 2012, in the Democratic-dominated state of Massachusetts, the Down Syndrome Information Act was first introduced in the state legislature. While Republicans are in the decided minority, the bill received support across party lines. The law requires the state to provide accurate, up-to-date, medically-reviewed information about Down syndrome which health care professionals are required to deliver to their patients with a pre- or post-natal test result for Down syndrome, along with the contact information for their local Down syndrome support organization. The law was signed by the Democrat governor, and friend of President Obama, Deval Patrick.

In 2013, the Down Syndrome Information Act was introduced in the Republican-controlled Kentucky state Senate by an overt pro-life state Senator. It passed unanimously in the Senate and went to the House committee, whose chairman was a robust pro-choice advocate. The law passed unanimously in the Democratic-controlled House and was signed into law by Democratic Governor Steve Beshear.

In 2014, here’s how the Act has been passed regardless of party-affiliation:

  • In Democratic controlled Delaware, the law sailed through both houses and was signed into law by Democratic Governor Jack Markell.
  • In Republican controlled Louisiana, the Act was signed into law by Republican Governor Bobby Jindal.
  • In Democratic controlled Maryland, the law was signed by Democratic Governor Martin O’Malley. And,
  • In Pennsylvania, with both houses controlled by Republicans, the Act was signed into law by Republican Governor Tom Corbett.

In every state, no matter which party was in the majority, the Act received broad support from both Republicans and Democrats.

An Act for every state

Regardless of who you may vote for on Election Day, the Down Syndrome Information Act likely would receive their support. Given the bipartisan support for the Down Syndrome Information Act, it should be able to be passed in every state in the nation.

If interested in seeing the Down Syndrome Information Act enacted in your state, you can contact me at mleach@downsyndromeprenataltesting.com. 


  1. […] do not require what he says they do. Rather, when the DSIA follows the model language like that of Massachusetts and Kentucky, it requires providers to follow the same guidelines that recommend offering prenatal […]

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