Iowa Unborn Victims Bill Fails to Meet Deadline, May be Brought Back
by Paul Nowak
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
March 28, 2004
Des Moines, IA (LifeNews.com) — An unborn victims bill that recently passed the state Senate failed to meet the Legislature’s "funnel" deadline due to a computer glitch, along with other legislation.
"We had a little bit of a snafu with computers being down," said House Speaker Christopher Rants (R-Sioux City). "Obviously, the Laci Peterson bill is a priority and we’re looking at other mechanisms to try and address that."
The bill will be re-introduced as a bill proposed by legislative leadership, which will make it immune to other deadlines. The "funnel" deadline requires that a bill pass one chamber, and a committee in the opposite chamber. Senate File 2254, the unborn victims bill, passed in the state Senate Wednesday, but was not brought to the House committee due to the computer failure.
Unfortunately, the new bill will have to again pass the Senate, though Kim Gordon, executive director of Iowa Right to Life, is not worried about getting the votes again.
"It passed the Senate, and we had the numbers to pass the committee," Gordon told LifeNews.com.
Gordon added that because there will be no deadline on the new bill, there will also be no pressure to meet future deadlines with the passage of the legislation.
On Wednesday, the Senate approved SB 2254 on a 30-19 vote. By defining an unborn child as a person in all stages of development, it allows for the prosecution under the state’s homicide laws of anyone who kills an unborn child in a malicious act against the mother.
According to the National Right to Life Committee, 29 states currently have unborn victims laws, 16 of which protect the mother and child throughout all stages of pregnancy. All constitutional challenges to such laws have been unsuccessful.
The federal Unborn Victims of Violence Act is on its way to President Bush, following the U.S. Senate’s passage of the legislation on Thursday. The Unborn Victims of Violence Act is the third major pro-life legislation passed with President Bush in office.
Massachusetts senator John Kerry, who backs abortion, voted against the bill and vote a substitute that doesn’t acknowledge unborn children as victims. Families of pregnant women who were victims of attacks opposed the substitute and criticized Kerry for backing it.