It’s clear the authors of a new piece of legislation in the Iowa General Assembly are opposed to the practice of abortion. But, how they’re going about restricting it – thereby regulating it – has raised a few eyebrows across the state.
Senate File 91, offered this week by state Sens. Brad Zaun (R-Urbandale), Amy Sinclair (R-Allerton), Jack Whitver (R-Ankeny), Jake Chapman (R-Adel), and Matt Chelgren (R-Ottumwa), is billed as a late-term abortion bill. But the bill offers a unique option for situations in which it is medically necessary to terminate a pregnancy.
The bill’s explanatory statement reads: “If an abortion is performed or induced when the probable postfertilization age is 20 or more weeks, the physician is required to terminate the pregnancy in a manner which, in the physician’s reasonable medical judgment, provides the best opportunity for the unborn child to survive unless such termination would pose a greater risk either of the death of the pregnant woman or of the substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the woman than would another available method.”
The bill also contains a provision stating that it is not intended to establish women’s right to abortion. It also states that it is not meant to by construed as determining that life begins at 20 weeks’ gestation.
“[I]nstead, it is recognized that life begins at conception,” it states.
The bill has been referred to committee. A number of organizations have made lobbyist declarations on the proposed legislation. The Iowa Catholic Conference is the only group in favor of it, while the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault, the League of Women Voters of Iowa, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa are all opposed.