Iowa Senate Passes Bill Defining Baby Before Birth as ”Unborn Person” Under Law

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Mar 27, 2019   |   9:50AM   |   Des Moines, IA

The Iowa Senate passed a bill Tuesday that defines unborn babies as “persons” for the purposes of punishing criminals who illegally kill unborn babies.

State Senate File 523 passed in a 31-18 vote after Republicans amended it to add the “unborn person” language, KCCI News 8 reports. The bill, which now moves to the state House, would increase penalties for anyone convicted of killing an unborn baby while committing a felony.

“This affirms that when you kill someone inside of the womb, it holds the same penalties as someone outside of the womb,” said state Sen. Jake Chapman, the sponsor of the bill.

The abortion chain Planned Parenthood quickly slammed the bill as an underhanded attempt to ban abortions.

“These changes would have far-reaching, unintended consequences, including outlawing certain forms of birth control and in vitro fertilization,” said Erin Davison-Rippey, executive director of Planned Parenthood Iowa. “A woman’s decisions about pregnancy must be made between her and her doctor, without political interference.”

The Des Moines Register reports the bill initially contained the phrase “terminates a human pregnancy,” but Republicans amended it to replace the language with “causes the death of an unborn person.” It also defines an “unborn person” as “an individual organism of the species homo sapiens from fertilization to live birth.”

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Here’s more from the report:

Chapman said the measure would only strengthen penalties that exist in current law and is unrelated to abortion since it deals with pregnancies ended without the pregnant woman’s consent.

If someone “causes the death of an unborn person” without the consent of the pregnant woman while committing a felony, that person could receive a sentence of life in prison without parole under the bill. The bill carries lesser penalties if an “unborn person” is killed under other circumstances.

Chapman said his bill is not about abortion but justice for victims of crimes.

“This is non-consensual,” he said. “This is against a mother’s will.”

Right now, 38 states recognize the unlawful killing of unborn babies as homicide in some circumstances. New York recently repealed its fetal homicide law as part of a larger pro-abortion law that allows abortions through all nine months of pregnancy.