Legislator Tries to Make Abortion a Hate Crime Against Unborn Children

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Mar 11, 2016   |   7:47PM   |   Des Moines, IA

Sometimes legislators introduce measures to make a point about an issue or a marginalized group. Even if their legislation has little hope of passing, it often can raise awareness about a problem or persuade people to think twice about their position.

Those may have been the motives of Iowa state Sen. Jake Chapman, R-Adel, who proposed including unborn babies among the classes of people protected under the state’s hate crime law this week. Chapman’s effort was quickly shut down by other legislators and then criticized in the media.

His proposal came in the form of an amendment to a bill that would protect people of different gender identities and expressions from hate crimes under the current law. The bill, minus Chapman’s amendment, passed the Democrat-controlled Iowa Senate on Tuesday, according to The Des Moines Register.

Sadly, the newspaper’s columnist Rekha Basu missed Chapman’s point entirely. In a Thursday opinion piece, Basu characterized Chapman as “the sort of zealot you see parodied on late-night television” because he pointed out that unborn babies are human beings who deserve to be protected, just like other marginalized groups.



She began:

In case you missed it, an Iowa state senator argued on the Senate floor this week for a measure to make abortion a “hate crime” under the Iowa statute. A hate crime against a group that doesn’t even exist in society: The unborn.

Adel’s Republican Sen. Jake Chapman raised the proposal as an amendment to Senate File 2284. That bill being considered would add gender identity and gender expression to the list of protected classes covered by the state’s hate crimes law. The law brings enhanced penalties for crimes committed out of hatred on the basis of a victim’s immutable characteristics, such as race, religion and sexual orientation. It applies to groups recognized for protection under Iowa’s civil rights law.

Basu said other state Senators struck down Chapman’s amendment as irrelevant to the bill. After his amendment was rejected, Chapman reportedly said, “I am saddened that this body has failed in its most basic responsibility: … a right to life,” referring to unborn babies.

Basu went on to criticize him for having the audacity to compare unborn babies to other marginalized groups. She concluded her attack against Chapman with:

Anti-abortion advocates have every right to express their moral opposition through rallies, prayer sessions, opinion pieces and boycotts if they choose. If they have evidence of clinics violating the law, they should speak up. But since the Supreme Court has ruled there is a constitutional right to abortion, and has not recognized a fetus’ personhood, any limits need to have a medical basis.

Measures like Chapman’s amount to unproductive gimmickry and obstructionism that hurts private people trying to live their lives in accordance with the law, and free from coercion by elected officials. Let’s hope this is the end of it, at least for now.

Yet, to say that the unborn do not exist is to ignore the medical evidence about the beginning of human life. Sara Terzo, writing at LifeNews, documented 41 medical textbooks that indicate human life begins at the moment of conception. What more of a “medical basis” does Basu need?

Sadly, Basu and abortion activists like her conveniently ignore the scientific facts about the beginning of life. Their efforts to stifle these facts in the mainstream media, in schools and in society are exactly why efforts like Chapman’s to educate the public about the truth about abortion are so important.