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Senate bills would create new abortion restrictions

Baby in WombA pair of bills offered in the Iowa Senate would create new restrictions on the practice of abortion in the state. The first would prohibit gender-selective abortions, while the other would prohibit the use of federal healthcare reform funds from being used for abortions.

Senate File 44, offered last week by state Sen. Bill Anderson (R-Pierson), would prohibit gender-selective abortions, requiring physicians who perform abortion procedures to certify the abortion was not performed for gender-selective purposes. Physicians in violation of the proposed bill would by guilty of a Class C felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

The bill allows for civil action by the woman upon whom a gender-selective abortion is performed, as well as her spouse, against the physician who performs the procedure. A physician who has violated the bill, if it is enacted, could be prohibited from performing future abortions.

The woman upon whom the procedure is performed would have immunity from criminal penalty.

The Iowa Right to Life Committee, the Iowa Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition, and the Iowa Catholic Conference have all declared their support for the proposed legislation.

Senate File 55, offered this week by state Sen. Brad Zaun, would prohibit the use of federal health care reform funds to pay for abortions, or to pay for health insurance coverage, benefits, or services that include coverage for abortion. It includes a “health of the mother” provision, if the woman suffers from a physical disorder, injury, illness, or life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself.

The “health of the mother” exemption requires a physician’s certification that the woman will die if the abortion is not performed.

The Iowa Right to Life Committee, Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition, and the Iowa Catholic Conference have all declared their support for the bill. The Family Planning Council of Iowa and the League of Women Voters of Iowa are both opposed to the proposed legislation.