A Republican senator announced this week that he’ll try to prohibit public funds from being used to provide abortions for inmates in the state’s prisons. Senator Kent Sorenson, a Republican from Milo, hopes to attach his proposal to another bill that forbids the shackling of pregnant prisoners.
“I understand the testimony of women that were shackled during pregnancy. That’s sad. I think that’s a great bill,” Sorenson said. “But in the same fashion, just as we’re giving compassion to those prisoners, I think the babies need compassion as well.”
According to Sorenson, all 24 Republican senators and one Democrat in the senate will vote for a proposed ban on state-funded abortions for prison inmates.
“I don’t think that we should use state dollars to transport a patient or an inmate to a facility have an abortion performed,” Sorenson said.
A spokesman for the state’s prison system says under current policy his department cannot authorize spending tax dollars for an abortion unless there was a life-threatening or serious medical threat to the mother.
A bill eligible for debate in the Iowa Senate would prohibit the use of restraints on a female prisoner during the last trimester of her pregnancy and during the birth of the child. Similar legislation was tabled in the Iowa House after state officials showed classified documents to key lawmakers showing that now is the prison system’s current policy.