Iowa Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (SF 91)
This law was last updated on Feb 26, 2015
SF 91 would have prohibited performing or inducing an abortion unless the physician first makes a determination of the probable post-fertilization age of the fetus, except in cases of a medical emergency.
The bill would have banned abortions at 20 weeks post-fertilization unless, in the physician’s reasonable medical judgment, the woman has a condition which the physician has deemed a medical emergency or an abortion is necessary to save the life of the “unborn child.”
The bill defined “medical emergency” to mean “a condition which, in reasonable medical judgment, so complicates the medical condition of a pregnant woman as to necessitate the immediate abortion of the human pregnancy to avert the woman’s death or for which a delay will create a serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.”
The bill stated that an abortion does not become necessary if the risk of death or a substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function arises from a claim or diagnosis that the woman will engage in conduct that may result in her death or in substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.
The bill also stated that an abortion performed after 20 weeks must be performed in a manner that provides the best opportunity for the “unborn child” to survive unless performing the abortion in the manner would pose a greater risk of death of the mother. The bill further stated that a greater risk does not exist if it is based on a claim or diagnosis that the woman will engage in conduct that may result in her death or in substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.
The bill included legislative findings based on junk science that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks.
The purpose of the 20-week ban would be to “assert a compelling state interest in protecting the lives of unborn children from the stage at which substantial medical evidence indicates that they are capable of feeling pain.”
Physician Reporting Requirements
Abortion providers would have been required to report certain information to the Department of Public Health, including:
- if the determination of probable post-fertilization age was made, what was determined, and how it was determined;
- if a determination of probable post-fertilization age was not made, why not — what was the basis for a determination that a medical emergency existed;
- if the probable post-fertilization age was 20-weeks or more, the basis for a determination that a medical condition necessitated an immediate abortion to avert the woman’s death or serious injury;
- the method used for the abortion;
- if the probable post-fertilization age was 20-weeks or more and an abortion was performed, whether the method performed provided the best opportunity for the “unborn child” to survive, and if not, why not.
The bill would have required the Department of Public Health to issue a public report providing statistics compiled from all the reports provided by physicians by June 30 of each year.
Similar to SF 45, which failed to pass in 2013.