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Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds

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DES MOINES, Iowa (LifeSiteNews) — Iowa state House Republicans passed a bill on Thursday that would make it a felony to “cause the death of an unborn person without the consent” of the mother and could thereby obstruct in vitro fertilization (IVF) operations in the state.

The legislation revises the language of current state law, which bans non-consensually “terminat[ing] a human pregnancy,” to criminalize fatally or seriously harming unborn children specifically. The bill defines an unborn person as “an individual organism of the species homo sapiens from the moment of fertilization to live birth.”

While the bill avoids criminalizing abortion, an issue that is now being fought over in Iowa courts, it does not make an exception for IVF. The Iowa House passed the bill a day after Alabama enacted a law granting civil and criminal immunity from a similar personhood bill to IVF providers, which dispose of 93 percent or more of the children they create as “medical waste.”

This is because the IVF process requires that many more eggs are fertilized than necessary as an insurance policy in case first attempts at successful pregnancies fail.  Stored embryos deemed to be no longer necessary for the clients’ pursuit of children – often numbering a dozen or more – are then discarded.

To become law, the bill must be passed by the Iowa state Senate and signed by Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds. It is unclear whether Reynolds would sign the bill if it passes the Senate.

The legislation deems “a person who causes the death of an unborn person without the consent of the pregnant [woman]” “guilty of a class ‘A’ felony,” which NBC News noted is “the most serious criminal offense under Iowa state law and is punishable by up to a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole.”

The bill considers a “person who unintentionally causes the death of an unborn person” “guilty of a class ‘B’ felony,” which is punishable by up to 25 years in prison under Iowa law.

The Catholic Church teaches, based on natural law, that IVF is gravely immoral even independent of its killing of “excess” embryos because it separates the sexual act from procreation and violates the right of the child to be born of a conjugal union.

In July 2023, Gov. Reynolds signed into law a ban on aborting babies with detectable heartbeats, which occur at about six weeks’ gestation or earlier. However, a Polk County judge temporarily blocked the law shortly thereafter, so that abortions currently remain legal in Iowa up to 20 weeks of pregnancy.

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