On Tuesday afternoon The Iowa House passed, SF 471, a 20-week abortion ban on a 55 to 42 party-line vote after having a floor debate that spanned two days. The Iowa Senate passed the bill on March 14 with a 32 to 17 bipartisan vote. Correction: one Republican, State Representative David Maxwell (R-Gibson), voted against the bill.

Iowa law currently only allows abortions during the third trimester if a woman’s life or health is endangered. Senate File 471 states:

  • “Any person who intentionally terminates a human pregnancy, with the knowledge and voluntary consent of the pregnant person, after the pregnancy reaches twenty weeks postfertilization or the fetus achieves viability, whichever occurs earlier, where death of the fetus results.”
  • “Any person who attempts to intentionally terminate a human pregnancy, with the knowledge and voluntary consent of the pregnant person, after the where death of the fetus does not result, commits attempted feticide.”

The House amended the bill with stronger language than the original version.

  • The ban’s only execption is when there is a medical emergency which was defined this way, “a situation in which an abortion is performed to preserve the life of the pregnant woman whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy, or when continuation of the pregnancy will create a serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.”
  • If a pregnancy is to be terminated it is to be done in a way that “provides the best opportunity for an unborn child to survive” unless that puts the mother at greater risk of losing her life or the irreversible impairment of a majorly bodily function.
  • The bill also establishes a three day waiting period and strengthens the requirement for doctors to offer a mother the opportunity to see an ultrasound and hear the heartbeat of her unborn child.

The amended version will need to pass in the Iowa Senate before it goes to the Governor’s desk.

“Over the past two days, debate raged on this bill in the House.  Republicans stood strong against immense pressure and frankly, countless personal attacks and insults from opponents,” Jenifer Bowen, spokesperson for Iowa Right to Life, told Caffeinated Thoughts. “We are extremely happy to see this bill continue through the legislative process again this year, particularly now that the fetal anomaly/incompatible with life language was removed.  Happy because we know that this bill will save the lives of 50 or more babies every single year.”

“From Iowa Right to Life’s perspective, we work passionately to see the lives of as many babies saved as possible, as we fight to ultimately see all tiny, unborn lives protected from the very moment of fertilization,” Bowen added.

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