20-week abortion ban advances, 'life at conception' bill fails - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

20-week abortion ban advances, 'life at conception' bill fails

Posted: Updated:

A Senate committee in the Iowa Legislature has approved a bill that would ban most abortions in the state after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

The Senate Human Resources Committee voted 9-3 in support of the measure. It's now available for debate on the Senate floor.

The proposal advanced beyond a legislative procedural deadline this week that stopped a separate personhood bill from moving forward. That bill would have determined that life begins at conception and would have essentially banned abortion. It likely would have faced legal challenges.

According to a comprehensive survey, the annual number of abortions in the U.S has dropped to well under 1 million, the lowest level since 1974. The report by Guttmacher Institute, a research group which supports abortion rights, was published in January. 

However, for state lawmakers, the battle is whether or not women's health should be their decision.

Senate file 53 dealing with abortions, is a hot-button topic that has a lot of people riled up at the state capitol. The ban has been generating crowded rooms, split in both directions.

Currently in Iowa, the current law says you can't have an abortion during the third trimester, which is 28 weeks. But this bill would ban any abortion past 20 weeks.

The 20-week ban would include exceptions such as medical emergencies.

State representative Walt Rogers (R) supports the bill. 

"I've told even my constituents, and my caucus, that I'll vote for any abortion, any pro-life bill that will advance the issue and advance the cause," said Rogers. 

Proponents of the bill argue 20 weeks is when the fetus begins to feel pain. 

"To me, I don't think it's that far to go to 20 weeks," said Rogers. "It's not a big difference to go to 20 weeks as far as when it should be illegal."

State representative Bob Kressig says Democrats don't see eye to eye.

"The troubling part to me is that we're electing people in the Iowa legislature to go down and make these really critical medical decisions when we shouldn't really be doing that," said Kressig. "It should be done within the medical community, and by the families, with information on what's the best choice for them to deal with this."

The bill would also allow felony charges against doctors who perform abortions after that time. 

Powered by Frankly