February 13, 2016

State representative turns traffic camera debate to abortion

The controversial topic of abortion crept into this week’s Iowa House debate about a bill that would ban traffic cameras. Representative Janet Petersen, a Democrat from Des Moines, suggested there was some irony to the debate.

“Some of the same people who want to ban traffic cameras to protect the liberty and freedom of Iowans also support government forcing women to have cameras inserted in their vaginas,” Petersen said. “So much for protecting personal liberty.”

Representative Walt Rogers, a Republican from Cedar Falls, responded. “I will just say I am fervently fighting for the liberty of every unborn child, every unborn baby in this state,” Rogers said.

“That’s what that is about.” The bill Rogers authored would have required doctors performing abortions to give the woman a chance to see an ultrasound and have the image explained to her. He also wanted doctors to give women seeking an abortion an opportunity to hear the heartbeat of the fetus.

Earlier this year legislators in the state of Virginia proposed requiring that women seeking an abortion get an internal ultrasound that’s conducted with a wand-like device, but after widespread criticism they abandoned the proposal in favor of requiring an external ultrasound.

The bill to ban traffic enforcement cameras passed the House on Tuesday night, but a key lawmaker on Thursday said it was “unlikely” to be considered in the senate.

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