A bill to recognize life starting at conception in Iowa was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee following a subcommittee hearing on Monday. SF 253 was sponsored by Senator Jake Chapman (R, Adel), Senator Bill Anderson (R, Sioux City), Senator Mark Chelgren (R, Ottumwa), Senator Jeff Edler (R, State Center), Senator Mark Costello (R, Imogene), Senator Dennis Guth (R, Klemme), Senator Rick Bertrand (R, Sioux City), Senator Randy Feenstra (R, Hull), Senator Craig Johnson (R, Independence), Senator Tim Kraayenbrink (R, Fort Dodge), Senator Amy Sinclair (R, Allerton), Senator Jerry Behn (R, Boone), Senator Mark Segebart (R, Vail), Senator Michael Breitbach (R, Strawberry Point), Senator Ken Rozenboom (R, Oskaloosa), Senator Tom Greene (R, Burlington), Senator Mark Lofgren (R, Muscatine), Senator Jason Schultz (R, Schleswig), Senator David Johnson (I, Ocheydan), Senator Roby Smith (R, Bettendorf), and Senator Brad Zaun (R, Urbandale). The subcommittee was chaired by Senator Schultz, with Senator Brad Zaun and Senator Janet Petersen (D, Des Moines).
In his opening remarks, Senator Schultz said that “For over 40 years, we have been using a legal framework of violence. We have had schizophrenic courts that are inconsistent in their recognition of human life. For example, if a pregnant woman is killed by a drunk driver, it is considered a double homicide. DHS includes unborn children as part of the household. An unborn child does have standing in court, and therefore Iowa needs a law that will protect the unborn”.
Testifying on behalf of SF 253, Rebecca Kiessling is a pro-life attorney, speaker, and activist who founded Save The 1, a group that provides resources and alternatives to abortion for women who have been the victims of rape. Kiessling herself was conceived as the result of rape in 1969, three years before the Roe v. Wade ruling.
“When I met my mother when I was 19, she said that if abortion had been legal, she would have aborted me. I literally owe my life to pro-life legislators who protected me from conception without exceptions,” stated Kiessling.
Senator Schultz reiterated that this bill does not penalize women who have had abortions, nor does it ban in vitro fertilization or contraceptives.
Not only was the room full of pro-life activists, but the entire first floor rotunda and staircase were filled with people wearing black in solidarity for the unborn who have lost their lives to this barbaric practice.
Registered in support of SF 253 were Concerned Women For America, Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition, Crusaders Council, Jocelyn Fry, Personhood Iowa, Iowa Right To Life Committee, and FAMiLY Leader. Opposed to the bill were League of Women Voters of Iowa, Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault, ACLU, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, Interfaith Alliance of Iowa Action Fund, Family Planning Council of Iowa, Iowa Annual Conference of the Methodist Church, and Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
At the conclusion of the subcommittee hearing, Senator Schultz and Senator Zaun voted to pass SF 253 to the Senate Judiciary Committee, with Senator Petersen voting against the bill.
MacKenzie Dreeszen is a legislative assistant in the Iowa House and a political consultant specializing in fundraising