BOISE, Idaho — This article originally appeared in the Idaho Press.
Surrounded by Idahoans with Down syndrome, along with their family members and supporters of SB 1270, Gov. Brad Little signed the bill, the Down Syndrome Diagnosis Information Act, into law this morning. Advocacy groups from around the state have been working on the bill for the past two years; Sen. Fred Martin, R-Boise, is its lead sponsor.
During committee hearings on the bill in both houses, parents who have children with Down syndrome relayed stories of difficult experiences when they received their diagnoses during pregnancy, including a complete lack of information about the syndrome, expressions of sympathy, and suggestions that they consider options including aborting the pregnancy.
Idahoans with Down syndrome also testified in favor of the bill in both houses.
SB 1270, which passed both the House and Senate unanimously, requires the state Department of Health & Welfare to develop an "up-to-date, evidence-based support sheet about Down syndrome that has been reviewed by medical experts and the Idaho Down Syndrome Council," and to provide it to health care practitioners, who would be required to provide it to expectant parents receiving such a diagnosis. The information sheet also would include contact information for support groups and organizations that deal with Down syndrome.
The bill also requires H&W to post the information on its website, and to meet annually with the Idaho Down Syndrome Council to ensure the information sheet is kept up to date. It takes effect July 1.
This article originally appeared in the Idaho Press, read more on IdahoPress.com.
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