A bill pulled from consideration in the Iowa House drew strong responses from both sides in the abortion debate.
Abortion opponents say the bill would have let Iowans sue on behalf of an aborted fetus — just like a man in Alabama is doing. Kim Robbie — the Life Ministries director for Lutheran Family Service of Iowa — addressed members of an Iowa House subcommittee yesterday.
“In Alabama, a probate court has just ruled in favor of a birth father having a right to move forward in a case just similar to this situation,” Robbie said.
Others at yesterday’s hearing suggested the bill was an attempt to establish the legal concept of “personhood” in Iowa.
“There are those of us here today who strongly believe in Roe v Wade and so the extent that this is an attempt to limit abortion rights for women, we oppose this bill,” said Daniel Zeno of the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa.
Representative Mary Wolfe, a Democrat from Clinton who’s an attorney, said the bill would be a “gigantic legal step” for the state to make.
“This bill declares that fetuses, before they’ve been determined to be viable, are entitled to due process and equal protection of the law,” Wolfe said.
Chuck Hurley, the legal counsel for The Family Leader, urged legislators to pass the bill.
“Obviously you can’t overturn Roe v Wade with this statute,” Hurley said, “but you can clarify that child is a person.”
The bill’s sponsor said it was “not intended to deal with abortion,” but was an attempt to make common legal procedures part of actual state law. A House Committee did not take up the bill last night. The panel’s chairman said there were too many unanswered questions about the legislation.