In the last scheduled meeting of the Iowa House Human Resources Committee before the Legislature’s “second funnel” deadline, the Committee advanced a bill that would ban abortions after the unborn baby’s heartbeat can be detected.
SF359, which in its core language bans the sale of fetal body parts, passed subcommittee yesterday with a recommended amendment to also include “Heartbeat” language.
Today, in a vote on the recommended “Heartbeat” amendment, 12 Republicans voted in favor, while all 8 Democrats and Republican Rep. Michael Bergen voted against.
After the amendment passed, the bill as amended also passed the full committee by a vote of 12-9. Again all 8 Democrats and Republican Rep. Michael Bergen voted against; the remaining 12 Republicans voted in favor.
Before the bill can be sent to the full Iowa House, however, at House Democrats request, the bill will be subject to a public hearing, per Rule 61 of the Iowa House.
SF359 had already passed through the Iowa Senate in 2017. The Senate earlier this session also passed “Heartbeat” language, though in a separate bill, SF2281.
This means, should the House pass SF359, the two houses of legislature will need to go through a reconciliation process to send a final, unified version of the bill to the governor’s desk.
The House version of the “Heartbeat” language does differ from the Senate’s on two counts. First, it more clearly protects last year’s 20-week ban on abortions should “Heartbeat” face judicial opposition. Most “Heartbeat” advocates agree this is a sound and favorable tweak. Second, the House language strips out the felony penalty for doctors performing post-heartbeat abortions. Nonetheless, doctors performing such illegal abortions would still face disciplinary action, including potential loss of their medical license. Capitol insiders suggest these changes will make the bill’s passage through the House more likely.
The FAMiLY LEADER remains committed to the gold standard of defending all life, from conception to natural death, yet we have ardently supported “Heartbeat” legislation as a clear statement of the evidence of life in the womb. Should the bill be passed, signed, and allowed to go into effect, it would save as many as 3,000 or more babies’ lives in the state of Iowa every year.