The Iowa legislature passed a pro-life bill Sunday to protect unborn babies by ensuring their mothers have the opportunity to see them on an ultrasound before going through with an abortion.
KCAU reports the state House passed the informed consent legislation, including a 24-hour waiting period and an ultrasound requirement, late Saturday night, and the state Senate passed it early Sunday morning.
The bill requires women to wait at least 24 hours before going through with an abortion, according to CBS 2 Iowa. It also ensures abortion facilities give women the opportunity to see their unborn babies on an ultrasound and hear their baby’s heartbeat. In addition, it requires abortion facilities to provide women with information about abortion risks and resources available for parenting and adoption, and to confirm in writing that women received it.
The pro-life measure is on its way to Gov. Kim Reynolds’ desk. She is a pro-life Republican.
State Rep. Sandy Salmon, R-Janesville, said the bill is a big step toward protecting unborn babies’ lives in Iowa.
“Waiting periods help ensure that decisions are made not under duress and not under undue influences. It’s the hope that after taking time to consider it, a woman would choose life over death,” Salmon said.
In recent years, Iowa lawmakers have tried to protect unborn babies from abortion in many different ways, including a 72-hour waiting period and measures to defund the abortion chain Planned Parenthood of taxpayer dollars. However, some of these efforts have been blocked by court challenges.
The 24-hour waiting period and informed consent requirements are more likely to withstand a potential legal challenge.
“We always look for pathways that we can advance the pro-life movement,” said House Human Resource Committee Chairwoman Shannon Lundgren, R-Peosta, Sioux City Journal reports. “24 hours is not an unreasonable amount of time to think about a decision that impacts more than just one life.”
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The bill passed 53-42 in the state House and 31-16 in the state Senate. Though one House Democrat joined Republicans to support the measure, others in the party claimed the bill would infringe on women’s rights.
“Instead of addressing the serious problems, we are here debating at the very end of session —without the benefits of public input, in the midst amidst a pandemic, in the midst of civil unrest—another infringement on Iowa women’s rights,” said Rep. Karin Derry, D-Johnston.
Republican lawmakers responded that the state requires waiting periods for other major decisions, too, including for marriages, divorces and adoptions, according to CBS 2 Iowa.
Informed consent laws help protect unborn babies from abortion, and the abortion industry knows it. Research indicates that when women see ultrasound images of their unborn babies, they are more likely to choose life. A 2017 study out of the University of California San Francisco also suggests that some women do change their minds about abortion as a result of informed consent laws.
A majority of states require a waiting period prior to an abortion and 35 require informed consent counseling, which typically includes facts about an unborn baby’s development, the risks of abortion and alternatives to abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute.