Iowa Bill Would Ban Abortions on Unborn Babies Starting at Conception

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Feb 28, 2023   |   6:29PM   |   Des Moines, Iowa

An Iowa House bill that would protect unborn babies from the moment of conception faces an uphill battle this week as a legislative deadline nears.

The Des Moines Register reports the Iowa Human Life Protection Act (House File 510) has until Friday to pass a House committee in order to move forward, and that does not appear likely to happen.

Although Republicans control the legislature and Gov. Kim Reynolds is pro-life, Iowa House leaders want to wait to see how the Iowa Supreme Court rules on the state heartbeat law, which currently is blocked.

“Let’s see what the court decides, and then at that point we’ll obviously work to do something to protect life,” state House Speaker Pat Grassley, R-New Hartford, told the newspaper. “But I don’t see our position changing at this point, based on the court not having taken any action.”

Sponsored by 20 House Republicans, the bill would ban all abortions and recognize that human life begins at conception. It describes abortion as “a murderous act of violence that purposefully and knowingly terminates a human life in the womb.”

Similar to the Texas heartbeat law, the bill includes a private enforcement provision that allows Iowans to enforce the abortion ban by filing lawsuits against abortionists and others who aid and abet in elective abortions.

State Rep. Luana Stoltenberg, R-Davenport, a lead sponsor of the bill, said she has been hearing from a lot of Iowans who want lawmakers to pass more protections for unborn babies, according to the report.

“A lot of the constituents are saying, ‘You have a majority in the Senate, you have a majority in the House, Roe has been overturned, we have a governor who is pro-life and who’s Republican so we want to see life legislation passed,’” Stoltenberg said.

She also emphasized that her bill only bans elective abortions; doctors still will be allowed to treat women who are suffering miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies and other life-threatening conditions.

ACTION ALERT: To support this pro-life bill, Contact Iowa House lawmakers.

“When a woman needs to have surgery for that, that’s not an abortion,” Stoltenberg said. “It’s an ectopic pregnancy that a woman needs surgery for to save her life, or just to help her.”

Here’s more from the report:

Rep. Steven Holt, R-Denison, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, said he will recommend to the members of his committee that they not advance the bill this year as they await the court decision.

“I believe absolutely 100% in life at conception,” Holt said. “But there are a number of us, and legal experts, who believe we need to wait and see what the Supreme Court decision is on the heartbeat bill.”

Right now, abortions are legal for any reason up to 20 weeks in Iowa. The state heartbeat law, which prohibits abortions once an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, about six weeks, is blocked by a court order, but state Attorney General Brenna Bird is fighting to reinstate the law.

Iowa is one of eight states that are fighting in court to enforce laws that protect unborn babies from abortions. Currently, 14 others are enforcing pro-life laws that prohibit or strictly limit the killing of unborn babies in abortions. SBA Pro-Life America estimates these state laws are saving more than 125,000 unborn babies’ lives.

For nearly 50 years under Roe, abortions destroyed more than 64 million unborn babies in abortions. Only now that Roe has been overturned may states again protect the right to life for all human beings, born and unborn.

Two new polls show growing public support for legal protections for unborn babies. A Marist College poll found 69 percent of Americans support limiting or banning abortions, up from 62 percent in June. Another new poll from UMass Amherst found a 5-percent drop in those who say Congress should pass a law to make abortions legal nation-wide and a 6-percent increase in support for a national abortion ban, WCVB News reports.

ACTION ALERT: To support this pro-life bill, Contact Iowa House lawmakers.