Iowa lawmakers hope to re-introduce a bill this year to recognize unborn babies as persons who deserve a right to life.
The personhood bill, which was narrowly defeated last year, would ban abortions in Iowa by recognizing that unborn babies have a right to life from the moment of conception, according to the Des Moines Register. Supporters hope the bill will become law and succeed in challenging the legality of abortion under Roe v. Wade.
State Sen. Jake Chapman, who is sponsoring the bill, said he feels good about the legislation succeeding in 2018. The 2017 bill had 20 co-sponsors, the report states.
“I am very optimistic we will be able to have a personhood bill and very optimistic we can get something passed on this issue,” Chapman said.
The legislation has support from a number of pro-life and conservative groups in Iowa, including The Family Leader and Iowans for Life.
“We are hopeful and we are going to try our hardest,” said Maggie DeWitte, executive director of Iowans for Life.
Iowa abortion activists already are getting ready for a fight.
They previously criticized the legislation, claiming it pushes a “religious point of view” and bans certain forms of birth control. However, the Register reports the bill includes specific language against the prohibition of contraception.
Here’s more from the report:
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Erin Davison-Rippey, director of public affairs at Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, promised that supporters of reproductive rights will be as determined as ever to block efforts to restrict access to abortion and other family planning services provided by her organization. Planned Parenthood is Iowa’s largest provider of abortions.
“We won’t quit. We will continue to push back against these unconstitutional efforts,” Davison-Rippey said. “The opposition is very upfront with the fact that they want to pass bills that are unconstitutional in order to send these things through the court process. What that means is more money that the state of Iowa has to spend to defend unconstitutional laws.”
Pro-life advocates hope that someday abortions will be illegal and every human life protected under the law. However, many fear that because of the current make-up of the U.S. Supreme Court, the measure likely would be overturned. In 2012, the Oklahoma Supreme Court struck down a similar personhood bill as unconstitutional because it recognized unborn babies as human beings with a right to life.
Many pro-life groups think one of the keys to ending legalized abortion is to overturn Roe v. Wade, but the current Supreme Court justices are unlikely to do so. Four of the justices, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, John Roberts and Neil Gorsuch potentially would vote to overturn Roe and return abortion laws back to the authority of the states; but five of the other justices almost certainly would not.
President Donald Trump promised to nominate “pro-life” justices to the high court, but he would need to nominate and the Senate would have to confirm at least one more conservative justice before there is a chance of Roe v. Wade being overturned.
Trump’s nominee to replace Scalia, Neil Gorsuch, has taken the pro-life side in several important cases, including with pro-life Utah Governor Gary Herbert’s effort to defund Planned Parenthood and with the Little Sisters of the Poor and Hobby Lobby against the Obama Administration. Several pro-life groups also praised Gorsuch when he became the newest member of the U.S. Supreme Court.