The Democratic mayor of Council Bluffs has sent a letter to the Iowa Senate, urging senators to pass a law similar to Nebraska’s that would ban abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy.
After that Nebraska law took effect October 15, 2010, a doctor in Bellevue, Nebraska who performs so-called “late term” abortions announced he intended to open a clinic across the border in Council Bluffs.
Jon Jacobsen, a lawyer from Treynor, read the mayor’s letter at a news conference this morning in Council Bluffs that was organized by activists who’ve been pressing for the abortion ban.
“People of good will, from both sides of the aisle, are absolute in their solidarity together on this issue,” Jacobsen said. “This is not a partisan issue. This is a bipartisan issue.”
In the letter, Council Bluffs Mayor Tom Hanafan encouraged the state senate to “take action” so Council Bluffs won’t become the home of a clinic that “specializes in later term abortions.”
“Now Mayor Hanafan is a Democrat and this is just emblematic of the bipartisan nature of what’s going on here in southwest Iowa and all throughout Iowa on this issue,” Jacobsen said at this morning’s news conference.
The Iowa House has passed a bill that would ban abortions in Iowa after the 20th week of a pregnancy, but the bill has stalled in a Senate committee. Senator Tom Courtney, a Democrat from Burlington, says it’s too late in the legislative session to give the bill adequate review before a vote is taken. Courtney is chairman of the Government Oversight Committee where the bill is stuck.
The 110th day of the 2011 Iowa Legislative session is April 29 and that’s the day legislators’ daily expense money runs out. But it’s not clear whether lawmakers can wrap up work on the state budget by then and adjourn for the year.
The text of the mayor’s letter is below:
April 21, 2011
Iowa State Senate
State Capitol Building
Des Moines, Iowa 50319
RE: House File 657
I, as the Mayor of Council Bluffs, would like to encourage the Iowa Seante to take action on HF 657 which deals with late term abortions. It is no secret that it has been suggested that Council Bluffs could become home to a clinic that specializes in later term abortions. I would appreciate any action the Senate woul dtake to prevent this from happening.
Thomas P. Hanafan