Iowa: Pro-Life Advocates, GOP Blast New Senate Abortion Bill

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 13, 2011   |   1:32PM   |   Des Moines, IA

Pro-life advocates and Republicans in Iowa don’t much like the new abortion bill top Senate Democrats put forward to replace legislation that would ban abortions after 20 weeks based on fetal pain.

As has reported, the new legislation attempts to target late-term abortion practitioner LeRoy Carhart and his potential plans to move his abortion business from Nebraska to Council Bluffs, Iowa following the passage of the 20-week abortion ban there. However, although the bill would make it so Carhart can’t open up shop in the Omaha suburb of Council Bluffs, he could still open an abortion business elsewhere in the state that meets the conditions of the legislation.

Sen. Joe Bolkcom, the floor manager of House File 657 in the Senate, said Wednesday he will replace the ban with Senate Study Bill 1212 that he claims “is consistent with Iowans’ values, does not endanger a woman’s health or safety, and takes measures to ensure we provide the appropriate standard of care necessary to save lives.”

The bill comes because Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, whose hometown is Council Bluffs, opposes the fetal pain bill but doesn’t want to see Carhart open there.

The legislation received hours of debate in the Senate Thursday night but Democrats were not able to bring up the bill on the floor because Republican Sen. Kent Sorenson of Indianola refused to go along with the unanimous consent request needed to do so. According to the Des Moines newspaper, Gronstal called for adjournment and said the Senate would resume consideration of the measure on Monday.

Sen. Roby Smith, a Republican from Davenport, also questioned the bill, saying it “has no teeth.”

“The way the law is written, it doesn’t stop late-term abortionists from moving into Iowa,” Smith said, according to the newspaper. “Late-term abortion is an issue that a majority of Iowans are against.”

Bolkcom sent a press release out Wednesday afternoon adding that the bill would use the  Certificate of Need process to require that “a new abortion facility which performs abortions after 20 weeks post-fertilization is in close proximity to an Iowa hospital, with the appropriate level of perinatal care to protect the life or health of the woman and the fetus.” That wouldn’t have anywhere near the impact of a 20-week abortion ban but would supposedly stop Carhart from moving to Council Bluffs because no such hospital in the Omaha suburb would be able to meet the requirement of the legislation. Bolkcom said the only hospitals in the state that would meet the requirements are ones in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Davenport and Iowa City.

Operation Rescue officials said today that’s not good enough and noticed that Bolkom’s wife is Karen Kubby, the former director of an abortion business in Iowa City.

Cheryl Sullenger, Senior Policy Advisor for the pro-life group, said Bolkom “introduced the new bill in a spurious effort to appease those who want to prevent LeRoy Carhart from establishing a late-term abortion business in Council Bluffs. However Bolkcom’s bill would allow late-term abortions in four Iowa cities, including his home town, where hospital are located that provide Level II or Level III perinatal care. Council Bluffs has no such facility.”

“Bolkcom is the husband of Karen Kubby, the former director of the Emma Goldman abortion clinic in Iowa City. Kubby is known for being a high-ranking member of the Socialist Party and, like her husband, an activist for radical liberal causes,” Sullenger continued. “In addition, Bolkcom has received campaign contributions from Planned Parenthood, which actively opposed HF 657, but has given tacit approval for Bolkcom’s smoke-and-mirrors abortion scheme.”

Sullenger says Bolkcom’s bill would make it more difficult, but not impossible, for Carhart to establish a late-term abortion business in Iowa.

“However, the language actually protects and encourages a late-term abortion business, especially in Iowa City where late-term abortions are already being done on a small scale. Planned Parenthood’s Jill Meadows provides abortion training at their clinic in Iowa City,” she said. “Meadows is known for aggressively defending late-term abortions. When going by her maiden name of Vibhaker, she sued with LeRoy Carhart to defend the grisly late-term Partial Birth Abortion method that has since been banned in the U.S.”

“Bolkcom’s bill would open the door to Planned Parenthood to expand their late-term abortion operation without competition from Carhart,” Sullenger said.

“This is really about who gets to claim the lucrative late-term abortion market share, where abortion fees have been known to range from around $5,000 to over $20,000. Bolkcom is attempting to deny that market share to Carhart while protecting it for his cronies at the Emma Goldman clinic and his campaign contributors at Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, which is on currently on an abortion expansion binge. In fact, Bolkcom’s bill has nothing to do with protecting women but rather endangers them,” she said.

Meanwhile, Troy Newman says Bolkcom is misleading Iowa residents on when late-term abortions are done by claiming the reason for the abortions as to save the lives of the mothers. Operation Rescue spent years documenting abuses at the late-term abortion business in Kansas where LeRoy Carhart was employed.

“Bolkcom is misleading the people as to the true reasons why women have late-term abortions. In the long history of such abortions in Kansas, there has never been a single incident where a woman received a late-term abortion to save her life. Not one,” said Newman. “Women get abortions late because of denial of their pregnancy, for convenience, or because they do not want to cope with a complicated pregnancy. Abortion is not a cure to any medical condition. In my opinion, Bolkcom is a corrupt politician that is trying to dupe a person into believing something that is just not true.”

Newman says it is late-term abortions that present significant risks to the mothers that undergo them, including documented maternal deaths. Ambulances rushing women to emergency rooms were a routine sight in Wichita, Kansas, prior to the closing of a late-term abortion center there where Carhart did abortions.

Operation Rescue is asking pro-life people to contact Gronstal and Bolkcom and ask for a vote on the 20-week abortion ban:

Sen. Mike Gronstal – Legislative Email: [email protected]
Sen. Joe Bolkcom – Legislative Email: [email protected]