“It took an act of blatant judicial overreach to overturn the law, going directly against what Iowans want,” Dixson said.
She said the Iowa constitution itself recognizes “certain inalienable rights” including “enjoying and defending life.” She suggested that this contradicts the idea of “an unwritten ‘fundamental right to abortion’.”
Other legislative proposals in the state aim to restrict abortion provider funding and strengthen legal protections for the unborn.
One bill would increase the criminal penalty to life in prison for anyone convicted of intentional termination of a pregnancy, with the exception of an abortion. It would similarly call for life in prison for taking an action that one reasonably should have known would terminate a pregnancy, or terminating a pregnancy during the commission of a felony.
A different bill would deny state-administered federal funds to sex education programs run by any organization that performs abortions or regularly refers for abortion.
Both bills have passed out of subcommittee for further hearings.
A different proposed amendment declaring life begins at conception has passed out of a subcommittee Feb. 21 for consideration by a full Senate committee.
Republican Sen. Jake Chapman, the subcommittee head, said, “We're not going to stop. We will continue to fight for life.”
Such amendments have never successfully passed a statewide vote.
The heartbeat-based abortion ban did not take effect pending the legal challenge from the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, the abortion provider Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and the Iowa City-based Emma Goldman Clinic, which also performs abortions.
The bill also barred all persons from knowingly acquiring, providing, transferring, or using fetal remains in Iowa. This did not apply to medical diagnostic samples, or forensic investigations, or to fetal body parts donated for medical research after a miscarriage or stillbirth.
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Catholic bishops of the state had voiced qualified support for the bill’s “life-giving intent,” as well as its restrictions on fetal tissue and body parts.
Bishop Walker Nickless of Sioux City, Iowa told CNA in May 2018 that Catholics might disagree about the strategy of supporting legislation that could be overturned by courts. He encouraged creative pro-life advocacy, saying Catholics should discern such questions carefully. He also encouraged Catholics to support the legislation if that is what their conscience tells them.