Three pro-life bills advanced out of subcommittee on Thursday afternoon after the 2019 Prayer Rally for Life.

HF 257 directs the Iowa Department of Public Health not to disburse Title X funds it applies for from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to organizations who provide abortions or who operates a facility where abortions are performed.

This goes a step further than the federal rule that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services finalized that could theoretically allow groups like Planned Parenthood to apply for Title X funds if it kept their family planning services completely separate from their abortion services.

The bill also specifies that the sponsor or co-sponsors of the bill have legal standing to act as agents of the state in defense of the bill should it become law and is challenged in court.

State Representative Sandy Salmon (R-Janesville) is the sponsor of the bill. State Representatives Tedd Gassman (R-Scarville), Terry Baxter (R-Garner), Jeff Shipley (R-Fairfield), Skyler Wheeler (R-Orange City), Steve Holt (R-Denison), Jon Jacobsen (R-Council Bluffs), John Wills (R-Spirit Lake), Stan Gustafson (R-Cumming), Anne Osmundson (R-Volga), David Kerr (R-Morning Sun), Tom Moore (R-Griswold), Shannon Lundgren (R-Peosta), Cecil Dolecheck (R-Mount Ayr), Dean Fisher (R-Montour), Robert Bacon (R-Slater), and Phil Thompson (R-Jefferson) are co-sponsors.

In subcommittee, Salmon and Osmundson recommended the bill’s passage, State Representative Beth Wessel-Kroeschell (D-Ames) did not. It goes to the full House Human Resources Committee for a vote.

SF 259, a personhood bill, defines “person” in Iowa’s criminal code to mean “an individual living human being without regard to age of development from the moment of conception, when a zygote is formed, until natural death.”

The bill further states, “Each such person 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.”

State Senator Randy Feenstra (R-Hull) is the sponsor for this bill. It passed out of subcommittee on Thursday afternoon with State Senators Jake Chapman (R-Adel) and Annette Sweeney (R-Alden) recommending passage and State Senator Janet Petersen (D-Des Moines) did not. The full Senate Judiciary Committee will consider the bill.

SSB 1170, a bill sponsored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Brad Zaun (R-Urbandale), criminalizes the nonconsensual termination of or serious injury to a human pregnancy.

It provides different penalties based on the intent and knowledge of the perpetrator of a felony or felonious assault that causes the termination of or serious injury to a pregnancy. If that person intended to cause harm or terminate the pregnancy, knew or reasonably knew their actions could harm the unborn child or knew or reasonably knew their victim was pregnant is guilty of a class A felony which carries a life sentence.

Those who unintentionally terminate a pregnancy or cause serious injury to an unborn baby are guilty of a class B felony which is punishable up to 25 years in prison.

The subcommittee recommended the bill’s passage that will now be considered by the full Senate Judiciary Committee.

Photo Credit: Jason Mrachina (CC-By-NC-ND 2.0)

3 comments
  1. I have no problem with Zaun’s bill (SSB 1170) but wonder how often an abortion is performed without the pregnant woman’s consent. Also, legislation aimed at the abortion procedure itself is the way to go but such proposals also need to amend Iowa Code Chapter 705–Solicitation to make a specific exemption for the pregnant woman who submits to an abortion procedure. Otherwise, pro-aborts will argue that measures to curtail abortion will make criminals of these women since they “solicit” the abortionist to do the procedure. Also, these women would be essential witnesses in a case involving an illegal abortion.

    1. SSB 1170 really isn’t meant to address abortion, just increasing penalties if a pregnancy is terminated during the commission of a felony or felonious assault. What it does do is place a value on unborn babies.

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