Iowa Governor Vetoes Unborn Victims Bill

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 18, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Iowa Governor Vetoes Unborn Victims Bill

by Paul Nowak Staff Writer
May 18, 2004

Des Moines, IA ( — Governor Tom Vilsack (D) vetoed the Iowa Unborn Victims bill, one of 17 bills he rejected on Friday. Vilsack is one of a handful of leading political figures pro-abortion Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry is considering as his running mate.

According to the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, the pro-abortion governor claimed that Iowa already has laws to charge those responsible in the death of an unborn child, although pro-life advocates disagree.

"Our current code recognizes the woman’s pregnant condition, but falls short to recognize the child, who is the actual victim, not the pregnancy," said Kim Gordon, executive director of Iowa Right to Life. "The intent of the bill is to acknowledge the child as the second victim during the commission of an already defined crime."

"House File 2558 creates a new crime that fails to promote greater accountability of wrongdoers and fails to afford greater protection for pregnant women," Governor Vilsack claimed.

Gordon says that such a statement belies Governor Vilsack’s true reason for vetoing the bill.

"Words have meaning and the Governor knows this," explains Gordon. "Iowa law uses the word ‘pregnancy,’ however, you can’t ‘murder’ a pregnancy. In fact, a pregnancy isn’t a victim in a crime. And when is the last time you heard of parents having a funeral for their pregnancy? Governor Vilsack vetoed the bill, because it defined the unborn child as a ‘person.’"

Abortion advocates had opposed the bill, complaining that by defining the unborn child as a person abortions would become illegal, even though that hasn’t been the case in more than two dozen states that have similar laws.

Supporters of the bill, modeled after the federal version that was signed into law by President Bush, say it places true value on the lives of both mother and child when a pregnant woman is attacked and her unborn baby is killed or injured.

"This bill is primarily about justice for the second victim," Rep. Dan Boddicker, R-Tipton, said during the debate.

Iowa Right to Life commended Boddicker for his passion and hard work in advancing the legislation.

"Throughout the many amendments that were defeated, Representative Boddicker maintained that current code only recognized one victim and the bill would rectify that by defining person to include the unborn child, which would then permit the state to prosecute for two victims in the commission of a crime against the woman and the child," the group said in a statement.

Pro-abortion lawmakers put forward an amendment that would say there is only one victim when a pregnant woman is attacked and her baby is killed or injured. Pro-life lawmakers defeated it.

The state Senate passed the bill 33-19 vote, and the House voted 63-36 to approve the bill, both insufficient to override the veto.

ACTION: Contact Governor Vilsack and express your opinion about his veto of the bill to protect pregnant women and their unborn children. Call (515) 281-5211, send a fax to (515) 281-6611. To send an email message, go to

Related web sites:
Governor Tom Vilsack –
Iowa Right to Life –