News Abortion

“Ban Carhart” Bill Planned By Democrats While Republicans Complain

Robin Marty

The fighting over a 20 week ban in Iowa continues, with Republicans unhappy that the focus is being moved simply to stopping a Carhart clinic.

A bill that would effectively shut off any attempt for Dr. Leroy Carhart to open a later term abortion clinic in Council Bluffs is about to be proposed by Democrats in the Iowa senate, leaving Republicans fuming that it doesn’t go far enough.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal has been holding a 20 week abortion ban off the floor, worried that the bill was unconstitutional, but allegedly looking for a compromise that would stop Carhart from potentially setting up a spot in Iowa to provide later abortions.

The Omaha World Herald reports:

A state senator says he will introduce legislation later this week designed to block a Council Bluffs clinic that would provide late-term abortions.

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Iowa City Democrat Joe Bolkcom told reporters Tuesday he will introduce his measure in the Senate Ways and Means Committee, which he heads. He says his bill would prevent Nebraska Dr. LeRoy Carhart from opening a clinic in Council Bluffs, but it also would allow abortions in order to protect the health of women.

But now that a potential “no Carhart” bill may be in the works, Republicans are unhappy, saying this was never about Carhart, but about stopping abortions all together.  Via Lynda Waddington at The Iowa Independent:

Senate Minority Leader Paul McKinley (R-Chariton) is lashing out against a Senate Democrats plan to offer a new version of a controversial late-term abortion bill, saying the debate isn’t about a single abortion provider.

“This debate is not just about keeping one abortionist out of Council Bluffs — it is about protecting the innocent lives of unborn Iowans in every community,” McKinley said in a prepared statement.

“We believe it is wrong for Senator [Mike] Gronstal to continue to obstruct a vote and stand in the way of meaningful Senate debate on this issue and Senate Republicans will continue to demand an up or down vote on a late-term abortion ban this session. We are confident that if Senator Gronstal opts to listen to the citizens of his district and allows a vote on a late-term abortion ban, it will pass the Senate with strong bipartisan support.”

The ban being discussed would leave no exemption for cases of fetal abnormalities or the health of the mother, two exceptions usually applied to abortion bans.  The 20 week ban met resistance originally in the Republican Party, where some anti-choice legislators complained it did not go far enough, wanting a total abortion ban instead.  Those legislators eventually backed down, allowing the bill to clear the House before it got stalled in the senate.

The governor is expected to sign the bill should it ever pass.

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