Iowa Bill Would Ban All Abortions

A bill introduced to the Iowa House of Representatives would ban all abortions from conception onwards. It has almost no chance — but its introduction is still disturbing for a lot of reasons.

According to the Des Moines Register, the bill "states that each life, from the moment of conception, is accorded full rights of any person under the constitution." Like the Ohio heartbeat bill, it's explicitly intended as a challenge to Roe v. Wade, which prohibits states from banning abortion before viability. The bill's author, Iowa Rep. Kim Pearson, says she hopes it goes all the way to the Supreme Court.

It probably won't get there — Kathie Obradovich of the Register says the bill "doesn't have a chance" in the Iowa Senate. And even if it does make it to the Supreme Court, the bill's provision that the Iowa Supreme Court can't override it might make the whole thing unconstitutional, meaning the court wouldn't necessarily even have to address abortion issues. That said, there are still some extremely upsetting things about the bill:

• It's so unclear, its own author doesn't even know what it does. In an interview, Pearson "said she believed doctors who perform abortions could be charged with a crime under her bill. But a woman who received an abortion could be considered less culpable depending upon the circumstances involved, she said in an interview after the meeting." Emphasis mine.
• To testify in favor of the bill, lawmakers brought in a woman whose abusive ex-husband forced her to get an abortion. She said, "I felt I was no better than Timothy McVeigh. I killed somebody." Taking away a woman's right to choose (for herself) isn't the way to prevent reproductive coercion (which can take the form of forced pregnancy as well as forced abortion).
• The bill might outlaw some forms of birth control or fertility treatments. But we don't know, because Pearson doesn't know what it does.

Maybe she would have written the bill more carefully if she actually expected it to become law. Instead, it seems like a test for Iowa Republicans — writes Obradovich, "Pearson wants lawmakers to take a stand on whether they value life. That will make it very difficult for GOP lawmakers to say no." And for everyone else, it's a stunt, a way of keeping anti-choice causes and challenges to Roe v. Wade in the public eye, even when they have no chance of passing. This wastes money and time, and it's a misuse of the legislative system. Pearson and her fellow representatives should concentrate on making actual laws, not using the House floor as a mere platform for their opinions.

Abortion Ban Will Be Hard For GOP To Resist [Des Moines Register]
Iowa House Subcommittee Passes Bill Declaring Life Begins At Conception [Des Moines Register]

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