House GOP: “We Have a Lot of Work to do” on 20-Week Abortion Ban

Mar 22, 2017

Republican lawmakers in the Iowa House have begun a second attempt to ban abortion in the state after the 20th week of pregnancy.     

The GOP caucus in the House is strongly anti-abortion, but there are divisions about how far an abortion restriction should go.   

Earlier the House Human Resources committee failed to pass the 20-week ban.   

I don't think it's going to be easily passed. -Rep. Shannon Lundgren

Many members had wanted to go further and outlaw abortion altogether.   

Now a 20-week ban has come over from the Senate, with an exception for fetal anomalies.  

“We do need to see that exception language removed to continue our support,” said Jennifer Bowen with Iowa Right to Life.

“Our position is that even those these infants are very sick, disabled, or dying we do not support taking their lives,” said Joan Thompson, spokeswoman for the Iowa Catholic Conference.

Abortion rights activists continue to oppose the bill.   

“We are opposed to any bill that would deny a woman the dignity and ability to make personal private decisions about her health care,” said Erin Davison-Rippey, Director of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland.

We're talking criminal prosecution. -Erin Davison-Rippey, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland

Davison-Rippey says abortion of a viable fetus is already banned. 

She says language in the bill to protect the life or health of the mother is too narrow.

Also doctors may be subject to penalties if they do not agree about whether a fetal anomaly is bad enough to warrant an abortion.    

“We’re talking criminal prosecution,” Davison-Rippey said.   “We're talking Class C felony.”

“I don't think it's going to be easily passed,” said bill sponsor Rep. Shannon Lundgren (R-Peosta).  “We have a lot of work to do on it.

“This is something we can do to protect about 50 babies a year Iowa,” Lundgren added.

20-week bans have been ruled unconstitutional in other states.  

Congress is also considering a 20-week ban.