HF 5, which would ban abortions after 20 weeks based on scientific evidence that unborn children feel intense pain, has passed out of a subcommittee of the Iowa House Government Oversight Committee yesterday. The panel made of of State Representatives Chris Hagenow (R-Windsor Heights), Chip Baltimore (R-Boone) and Janet Petersen (D-Des Moines) voted 2-1 with Petersen voting against the bill.
The bill was moved to this committee from the House Judiciary Committee as it was held up by two Republican legislators, State Representatives Glen Massie (R-Des Moines) and Kim Pearson (R-Pleasant Hill) said they don’t favor the bill because it doesn’t protect children from conception. They released a statement yesterday, along with State Representative Tom Shaw (R-Laurens) reiterating their opposition to the bill:
HF 5 does not protect innocent life from conception. This violates Article 1 of Iowa’s Constitution and we do not have the authority to legislate away an inalienable right. We do not support HF 5.
This moves HF 5 to the full Government Oversight Committee which is scheduled to take up the bill Wednesday next week. Republicans hold a 6-3 majority on the committee, and even with Pearson being on the committee, it should pass this bill out of committee where it will likely pass in the House.
This came the day after there was a joint press conference held by various pro-life groups around the state, with the exception of The FAMiLY Leader which is still registered as undecided on this bill and has done nothing to assist in moving it forward. The groups represented at the press conference on Wednesday: Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition, Iowans for Life, Iowa Catholic Conference, Council Bluffs Interfaith Coalition to Keep Carhart Out, Concerned Women for America – Iowa, and Iowa Right to Life are committed to supporting all prolife legislation before the Iowa House and Senate.
My position on this bill has been consistent, I stand with the majority of prolife Iowans who want to see this bill passed. I understand Massie, Pearson and Shaw’s position, but I believe they are wrong about the impact of HF 5. Simply put, this does not codify abortion before 20 weeks – it is already codified! What this does do is protect babies 20 weeks into the pregnancy. Status quo on this favors the abortion industry and will lead to Dr. Leroy Carhart setting up shop in Iowa and the death of more preborn children. There is a reason Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion groups are against this bill – because it advances the prolife cause. This isn’t a time to debate philosophy as there are life and death implications here and this bill is responding to a real threat. I, as well as prolife groups in Iowa also support the personhood bill and will continue to fight until all preborn children are protected. We won’t however set bills like HF 5 aside as we do this.