An Iowa House committee unanimously approved a pro-life bill Wednesday that would stiffen the penalties for anyone who tries to pressure or force a mother to abort her unborn baby.
“This plugs a loophole in state law,” said state Rep. Sandy Salmon, R-Janesville, pointing to a recent Iowa Court of Appeals ruling.
Salmon said the court sided with a man who argued that he was not guilty of a forced abortion when he forced his wife to take abortion drugs because the abortion attempt did not work, according to the report.
The bill would close this loophole and strengthen state laws prohibiting coerced and forced abortions by increasing the punishment to a Class D felony for anyone who attempts to do an abortion without the knowledge or consent of the pregnant mother.
The Indiana House passed a similar bill prohibiting coerced and forced abortions late last month. The Planned Parenthood abortion chain is lobbying against the bill.
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Coercion is a prevalent but often ignored problem among women who have abortions.
A new study from Lifeway Research found that 42 percent of men whose partners had abortions said they either “strongly urged” or “suggested” that she have an abortion. In contrast, 27 percent said they “suggested” or “urged” her not to abort her unborn child.
Research by other groups also has found that, for many women, aborting their unborn babies was not really their choice.
In 2009, the Elliot Institute, an Illinois-based organization that researches the impact of abortion on women, found 64 percent of post-abortive women said they felt pressured to have an abortion, often from a spouse or partner.
Another 2014 study found that forced abortions are common among sex trafficking victims. In “The Health Consequences of Sex Trafficking and Their Implications for Identifying Victims in Healthcare Facilities,” researchers found that 55 percent of sex trafficking victims had at least one abortion, with more than half saying they were forced to abort one or more unborn babies.
Studies also have found high rates of violent abuse among pregnant women. Often, abuse also is connected to a mother’s refusal to abort her unborn child. LifeNews has recorded dozens of crime stories in which pregnant mothers were abused or killed after refusing to abort their unborn babies.