DES MOINES, Iowa. March 28, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The Iowa Senate passed a bill this week that gives a life sentence (99 years) without parole to anyone who kills an unborn child without the consent of the mother.
According to Senate File 523, “A person who causes the death of an unborn person without the consent of the pregnant person during the commission of a felony or felonious assault is guilty of a class ‘A’ felony.” By defining an “unborn person,” the bill provides a definition not found elsewhere in state law.
The bill passed the Iowa Senate March 26, 31-18, on a partisan vote.
“This affirms that when you kill someone inside of the womb, it holds the same penalties as someone outside of the womb,” sponsor of the bill Sen. Jake Chapman said.
Planned Parenthood criticized the bill.
“These changes would have far-reaching, unintended consequences, including outlawing certain forms of birth control and in vitro fertilization,” said executive director of Planned Parenthood Iowa Erin Davison-Rippey. “A woman’s decisions about pregnancy must be made between her and her doctor, without political interference,” she added.
In an interview with LifeSiteNews, Iowa Right to Life executive director Caitlyn Dixson expressed optimism that the bill will pass in the Iowa House of Representatives.
“Next week is ‘funnel’ week,” she said, which means that the bill must be reported out of a House committee by April 4 in order to be considered during the remainder of the legislative session.
Dixson said that the bill is a victory for all Iowans. “If you kill a baby without the consent of the mother, it’s a homicide. That’s exactly what it should be,” Dixson said.
Dixson credited Sen. Jake Chapman (R) as among the “pro-life champions” in the legislature who shepherded the bill to the Senate floor. The lower chamber, she said, will be a challenge because there is a smaller pro-life majority. However, she remains hopeful that the bill will pass.
Chapman said that in cases of vehicular homicide or domestic violence situation, for example, when a mother and her unborn child are killed or murdered, the charge for the child is the same as for the mother. Two counts of felony murder could ensue from the same incident, Chapman said according to WHOTV.com, which means the responsible party could face a life sentence for both deaths. So instead of receiving one count of felony murder they would see two counts of felony murder,” he said.
Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) is expected to sign the bill when it reaches her desk. In February, she told reporters that she supports an effort by Republicans to ad pro-life language to the state Constitution. “I’m pro-life. I’ve made it very clear that I’m pro-life,” she said, adding, “I’m proud to be pro-life. I’m never going to stop fighting on behalf of the unborn.”