News Abortion

Iowa Showboat “Personhood” Bill

Robin Marty

At this point, proposing legislation to give legal rights to fertilized eggs is more about anti-choice posturing than trying to pass a law.

Rep. Tom Shaw of Iowa claims its time to “protect human life whether ‘you’re a zygote, an infant, a teenager or an adult.'” But if last year’s legislative session is any indication, Rep. Shaw isn’t going to see anything like an all-out abortion ban pass the state Senate.

Rep. Shaw is introducing a so-called “personhood” bill in the House, which would outlaw abortion at any point, and declare legal protection from the moment of conception.

Anti-choice politicians had very little luck pushing restriction during 2012. A mandatory forced ultrasound bill failed to gain traction in a Democratically-controlled Senate, and abortion funding for poor women nearly took down the entire state budget process. Eventually advocates had to turn to directly to the state administration itself to try to get bans on using Medicaid funds to pay for abortions in the case of sexual assault or severe fetal anomalies, a move that was also thwarted from becoming law.

 A bill to establish legal rights for fertilized eggs is just as unlikely to be approved this year in the still predominately Democratic Senate. For politicians like Rep. Shaw, who seem more interested in proposing bills that won’t become law just to solidify his anti-choice credentials, that will have to be good enough.

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