A group of Republican legislators has introduced legislation that would make all abortions illegal in Iowa and any doctor who performs an abortion in Iowa would face murder charges.
“What the bill does is it defines what a person is,” says Representative Tom Shaw, a Republican from Laurens who is the bill’s lead sponsor.
“We put it right underneath our murder statute. This is in keeping with Roe v Wade where Justice Blackman said that if the state ever defined the fetus to be a person, then, of course, it would have all the protections of the 14th amendment. He went on to say the case against abortion would collapse.”
According to Shaw, the bill takes a “new approach” to trying to outlaw abortion.
“We just kind of sat down and thought, ‘We’re making this way too hard. We should be following what the Supreme Court said in their opinion,’” Shaw says. “And so the bill just merely defines who a person is and it defines a person from the moment of conception when the zygote is formed until natural death.”
Shaw and eight other Republicans in the Iowa House are co-sponsors of the bill, meaning 42 other Republicans did not sign onto the legislation. If it does clear the Republican-led House, the bill would face almost certain defeat in the Iowa Senate, where Democrats control the debate agenda. Shaw says the bill aims to provide “equal protection to life at all stages.”
“And we should not determine whether a person’s life is worth living based on their age or their stage of biological development,” Shaw says.
Planned Parenthood of the Heartland CEO Jill June says the bill is “the most extreme” attempt yet in any state to ban abortions. June says her reading of the bill indicates “a woman and her doctor” would be imprisoned for attempting an abortion.