A bill that would ban all abortions in Iowa has cleared its first procedural hurdle and can now be considered by a House committee. 

Representative Kim Pearson, a Republican from Pleasant Hill, is the proposal’s key sponsor.”I think it’s a good step towards protecting all life,”Pearson said. “They’re valued for who they are, created in the likeness and image of God.”

A three-member subcommittee held a hearing on the bill this morning.  Representative Beth Wessel-Kroeschell, a Democrat from Ames, suggested the bill is written so broadly if would ban “The Pill” and other forms of contraception.

“I think this has some pretty drastic impacts on families, their reproductive health and their family planning decisions that they will not be able to make after this bill passes,” Wessel-Kroeschell said.

Pearson, the sponsor of the abortion ban, responded. “I’m sure that the state isn’t going to get involved in going into someone’s bedroom and looking at their contraception,” Pearson said. “What I want to do is make sure that our culture values life and you want to go around the edges of it, but get right to it.  Let’s talk about life and whether or not it’s valued or not — or can you murder?…Is the state in that position of protecting life or not?” 

A handful of people who attended this morning’s meeting were given a chance to speak. Jennifer Minney of Cedar Rapids told legislators she tried five times to commit suicide after she had an abortion in 1998. “I’m here today to tell you that an abortion does not end all of your problems,” Minney said.  “When you go in there to have that abortion, it starts a whole host of things you never, ever, thought you would have to deal with.” 

Roxie Richard of Dakota City, the Iowa coordinator for the group “Silent No More,” had an abortion in the early 1970s. “It was hell on Earth,” Richard said.  “….I’m sorry, but I don’t understand how anyone can sleep at night when they are allowing this to happen…This is murder and this has got to stop.”

Another bill pending in a House committee would ban abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy unless the mother’s life or health is at risk.  Representative Pearson and others say that bill does not go far enough, and they’re pushing for a ban on all abortions, with no exceptions.

Listen to the entire subcomittee meeting here:  abortion bill 49:50 MP3