Iowa lawmakers advanced a series of pro-life bills this week to protect unborn babies and mothers from abortion.
The legislation includes important informed consent requirements that would allow a mother to see an ultrasound of her unborn baby prior to the abortion, learn about the abortion pill reversal procedure and wait 72 hours before making a final decision about her baby’s life. Another bill would require annual inspections of abortion facilities.
Iowa Public Radio reports a Senate panel approved new informed consent requirements through Senate File 2215 on Tuesday. The bill would require abortion facilities to show a woman the ultrasound of her unborn baby and give her the opportunity to listen to her baby’s heart beat. It also would require women to wait 72 hours after receiving the information to have the abortion.
State Sen. Brad Zaun, R-Urbandale, sponsored the legislation just two years after the Iowa Supreme Court struck down a similar 72-hour waiting period requirement, according to the report.
“It’s something I’m very passionate about,” Zaun told the Des Moines Register.
He expressed hope that his bill would be upheld because of new, conservative judges on the Iowa Supreme Court. Pro-life Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds recently appointed three judges to the court and her fourth appointment is expected soon, according to the Register. The court has seven members.
Maggie DeWitte, executive director of Iowans for Life, said the bill is about providing information to women before going through with an abortion.
“Information is power especially for a woman experiencing an unplanned pregnancy. She deserves all the facts and all the information,” DeWitte said.
However, Laura Hessburg of the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence claimed women already are informed and the bill is unnecessary, Iowa Public Radio reports.
“Of course we want women to have information. What we’re saying is women don’t show up without being informed, any more than any of you show up for a medical procedure without being informed,” Hessburg said.
But many abortion facilities exist to sell abortions, and women frequently say abortion workers did not adequately inform them when they came in pregnant and unsure about what to do.
Other legislation that passed House committee Tuesday included House Study Bill 678, which would increase oversight of abortion facilities.
The bill instructs the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals to create licensing requirements for abortion facilities and conduct annual inspections of the facilities. It tells the department “to establish minimum standards to protect the health and safety of a patient of an abortion facility.” These standards would include having a licensed physician on staff and meeting safety, sanitation, emergency preparedness and other requirements.
State Rep. Ann Meyer, R-Fort Dodge, said the legislation is meant to protect women’s health and safety.
“I think if we don’t address the safety of the facility, that we’re actually hurting women,” Meyer said.
Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood bulked at the proposal, claiming “these restrictions are purely political in nature … and not really intended to protect patients.”
Also this week, a state House committee approved another pro-life bill to require abortion facilities to inform patients about the abortion pill reversal procedure, which has saved hundreds of babies’ lives, according to Iowa Public Radio.
Yet another pro-life bill would require medical and abortion facilities to bury or cremate the remains of aborted and miscarried babies. It would require them to give mothers a choice about their baby’s disposition, and require a fetal death certificate to be issued for babies who are aborted or miscarried after 12 weeks of pregnancy, the report continues.
Iowa lawmakers have been making protections for the unborn a priority this year. Last week, the Iowa Senate passed a state constitutional amendment that would make it clear there is no right to abort an unborn baby or force taxpayers to fund their deaths.
Earlier this year, Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds, the first female governor of Iowa, voiced her support for the pro-life constitutional amendment during her State of the State address.