Iowa State Legislature passes bill banning abortions after 20 weeks


The Iowa State Legislature votes to ban abortion after 20 weeks. / Photo courtesy (cc) 2017 J. Albert Bowden II

The Iowa State House passed a bill last week that bans abortions in the state after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

The vote in the House came a month after the State Senate approved the measure, and the bill is now headed to Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, a Republican.

If passed, Iowa would become the 18th state to prohibit abortions after 20 weeks. It also adds a three-day waiting period between a woman’s first doctor’s visit and when she can receive an abortion.

Branstad is likely to sign the bill into law, just before he leaves to serve as President Donald J. Trump’s ambassador to China.

The bill makes an exception for abortions passed the 20-week mark if the pregnant woman’s life is in danger. It does not make exceptions if the fetus has genetic disabilities.

The 20-mark period in pregnancy is in the middle of the second trimester (which lasts from week 13 to 27) and abortions performed at this point are often referred to as “late-term abortions.”

What Republican congresspeople fail to realize is that many women who are getting abortions at this point are not making the decision lightly. Often times, the fetus has severe disabilities, some of which may result in imminent death.

Rep. Sharon Steckman shared a story on the House floor about a woman who aborted her fetus after 20 weeks when she discovered it had a serious lung condition.

“The baby had a condition where the lungs would not develop,” Steckman said. “So if that baby had been born, it couldn’t breathe and the parents would literally watch it suffocate.”

Wendy Davis, a former Texas state senator, became famous for filibustering an anti-abortion bill on the floor of the Texas State Legislature for 13 hours. She would later open up about an abortion she had after the 20-week mark.

“I discovered that my daughter was suffering from an irreparable and non-life sustaining brain deformation or malformation, and it was one of the most heart-wrenching decisions I’ve ever had to make,” Davis said to Mic. “And I made my decision out of love.”

These women, among many others, do not need to experience more challenges than they already are when they chose to get an abortion after 20 weeks. And they certainly do not need to be lectured about the morality of the decision they are making. Ultimately, they are making the decision they believe is best for them and their fetuses—and the government should stay out of that decision.


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