Iowa senator says Nebraska abortion laws won’t work for Iowa
Sen. Joe Bolkcom (D-Iowa City) said in a statement Tuesday he will introduce a new abortion bill this week aimed at prevening a Nebraska doctor from opening a family planning clinic in western Iowa that would offer late-term abortion services. Whether or not it will match Republican desires for a ban on abortion procedures after 20 weeks remains to be seen.
Bolkcom, who will run House File 657 in the Senate, said his chamber’s version of the Iowa House’s late-term abortion bill will be introduced in the Senate Ways and Means Committee this week. The day was not specified.
Last week, Bolkcom told The Iowa Independent that he wanted to thoroughly examine “the constitutionality” of House File 657 before bringing a version to the Senate floor for debate. Pro-choice advocates have said the House bill would actually ban all abortion procedures in Iowa, though proponents have said the bill aims to ban procedures after 20 weeks gestation.
That bill was discharged to the floor last week.
Bolkcom released this statement this morning:
“I share most Iowans’ goal of preventing Dr. [LeRoy] Carhart from moving his practice to Iowa. That’s why I’ll be introducing a new bill later this week in the Ways and Means Committee that will prevent him from coming to Iowa.
“What I won’t do is endanger a woman’s health and safety. As the House-passed bill is drafted right now, there’s no exception for life of the mother, rape, incest or fetus abnormalities that would prevent the baby from surviving after it’s born.
“Not every pregnancy ends the way a family hopes it will. A woman with a wanted pregnancy that goes terribly wrong must face an awful decision that none of us ever want to face. A Nebraska-style total ban will only make a difficult situation worse, and that’s no place for politicians to meddle.
“Republicans know this. Their version of the bill is a political ploy. In fact … key supporter Senator [David] Johnson said in an interview last week that ‘the bill makes it more dangerous for pregnant women with a medical emergency to have to wait until the last minute if the woman truly needs an abortion after 20 weeks.’
“What’s more, constitutional experts say the bill as drafted is blatantly unconstitutional. There’s not much point in passing an unconstitutional bill that will only embroil Iowa in an expensive court battle.
“We can all agree that there should be fewer abortions. I hope Senate Republicans will put politics aside and help me pass legislation that will prevent Dr. Carhart from coming to Iowa.”