September 22, 2014

Paulsen predicts late-term abortion ban will “move” in House

The top Republican in the Iowa House predicts a bill that would ban so-called “late term” abortions will advance.

Key legislators on a House committee say they won’t vote for that bill, as they favor a ban on all abortions. House Speaker Kraig Paulsen, a Republican from Hiawatha, says there’s an urgency to the issue.

“Having a doctor move into Iowa from Nebraska so that he can perform late-term, some would even say partial-birth abortions — I don’t know exactly what his procedure is — is something we’re going to address,” Paulsen says.

The bill that’s stalled would ban abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy,unless the life or health of the mother is at risk. If two Republicans on the House Human Resources Committee refuse to endorse the bill, there are other options, such as having a different committee pass it. Another option would be to use a rule which allows a bill to immediately be considered by the full, 100-member House if a majority of House members vote to do so. 

“We’re going to have to make a decision, but right now, let’s let it percolate and let’s have the discussion,” Paulsen says.

Paulsen suggests doing nothing is not an option. “My expectation is we’ll make a decision and something will move,” Paulsen says.

Nebraska recently passed a law similar to the legislation that’s pending in the Iowa House, prompting Dr. Leroy Carthart to announce he may open a clinic in Council Bluffs to perform abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy. A three-member subcommittee in the Iowa House reviewed the proposed late-term abortion ban earlier this week and signed off on the proposal. 

The state’s four Catholic bishops lobbied legislators on the issue this week as well.