(Des Moines, IA) On Tuesday State Representative Greg Heartsill (R-Chariton) introduced a life at conception bill in the Iowa House. HF 297 was referred to the House Human Resources Committee, and if passed will add the following language to the Iowa Code.
The sovereign state of Iowa recognizes that life is valued and protected from the moment of conception, and each life, from that moment, is accorded the same rights and protections guaranteed to all persons by the Constitution of the United States, the Constitution of the State of Iowa, and the laws of this state.
“This (language) is consistent with what the Justices rationalized during the oral arguments and written decision of Roe v. Wade. If you take the Justices at their word, then there is no need for Roe to be struck down. Just simply recognizing the personhood of the baby in the womb confers the rights of due process and equal protection under the law,” Heartsill, who represents Iowa House District 28, told Caffeinated Thoughts.
The bill also removes appellate jurisdiction away from the Iowa Supreme Court leaving the only avenue for the bill to be challenged in federal court.
The Iowa Constitution in Article V, Section 4 says, “The Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction only in cases of chancery, and shall constitute a court for the correction of error at law, under such restrictions as the General Assembly may, by law, prescribe.”
This type of language, to this writer’s knowledge, has not been codified (beyond what the Iowa Constitution says) or tested in court.
The bill is co-sponsored by State Representatives Matt Windschitl (R-Missouri Valley), Terry Baxter (R-Garner), Larry Sheets (R-Moulton), Steven Holt (R-Denison), Dean Fisher (R-Montour), David Kerr (R-Morning Sun), Daniel Huseman (R-Aurelia), John Wills (R-Spirit Lake), Skyler Wheeler (R-Orange City), Kevin Koester (R-Ankeny), Ralph Watts (R-Adel), Walt Rogers (R-Cedar Falls), Sandy Salmon (R-Janesville), Kristi Hager (R-Waukon), Cecil Dolecheck (R-Mount Ayr), Tedd Gassman (R-Scarville), John Landon (R-Ankeny), Jim Carlin (R-Sioux City), Tom Moore (R-Griswold), Dawn Pettengill (R-Mount Auburn), Chuck Holz (R-LeMars), and David Sieck (R-Glennwood).
This bill was one of the 2017 priorities for the Iowa Coalition of Pro-Life Leaders which is also pushing for the reallocation of taxpayer funding away from abortion providers to federally qualified health care providers who do not provide abortion. The bill, Senate File 2, has passed the Iowa Senate and made it through its first hoop in the Iowa House on Monday being passed out of subcommittee.
The life at conception bill will likely be a greater challenge to pass as moderate Republicans willing to sign onto a bill like SF 2 are not necessarily supportive of personhood.