Senate File 523, a bill that related to the nonconsensual cause of death of and serious injury to an unborn person, will not receive a vote in the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday as originally planned.
The legislation originated as a bill to address the nonconsensual termination of a pregnancy, but when Republicans in the Senate amended the bill to address the nonconsensual cause of death of an unborn person, suddenly Democrats stopped supporting the measure.
Despite the word abortion failing to appear anywhere in the legislation, Democrats have successfully made the bill all about something it has absolutely nothing to do with.
“The legislation is not about abortion,” said Representative Steve Holt (R-Denison). “However, clearly when the Senate amended it to change the terms from terminating a pregnancy to the term unborn person, that creates the abortion debate even though this bill does not address abortion.”
The bill only addresses the taking of life of an unborn child against the will of his or her mother. Therefore, Holt said, it would have nothing to do with abortion, birth control or in vitro fertilization.
He did acknowledge the term “unborn person” ushers abortion into the issue.
“The fact of the matter is that those of us who are pro-life would hope that eventually a court would understand the right to life is in our constitution,” Holt said. “Even during Roe v. Wade in 1973 it was made clear that if it was ever determined that what is inside of a mother is a human being, then it’s a moot point — that human being has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and everything that is guaranteed in our constitution. Those of us who are pro-life recognize that to be fact.”
Which highlights the hypocrisy of the Democrat position, he said. Democrats were OK with the bill when it involved the nonconsensual termination of a pregnancy. But once it became about the nonconsensual termination of the life of an unborn person, it all changed.
“That is what I believe is the morally bankrupt position of the Left in that they’re OK with the term ‘terminating a pregnancy’ but they’re not OK with the term ‘unborn child’ or ‘unborn person,'” Holt said. “Because now we’re into the reality that this is an unborn person and that could some how in the future affect the abortion debate.”
Holt said the Left’s concern is that if those words are entered into code, then future decisions regarding abortion may tilt toward the pro-life position.
At issue for the members of the House Judiciary Committee was timing, Holt said.
“I think this is a really worthy piece of legislation that we need to continue to look at,” he said. “It came to me when we had two committee meetings left. There are a lot of questions relating to are the penalties appropriate, how do they measure up with other states. This bill would increase the penalties for taking the life of an unborn child against the will of the mother. We have to have the time to look at that. Then, of course, there is concern with the controversy created with the term ‘unborn person.'”
Holt said he personally has no issue with that term.
“That’s what is inside of an expecting mother,” he said. “There’s 19 other states that use the term ‘unborn child,’ so I don’t think we should have an issue about that. Without having the time to properly vet this legislation and all the ins and outs regarding the legislation, we just didn’t have time to do our due diligence to advance it.”
The bill will have to wait until next year.
“We’ll have to see,” Holt said. “I think we do need to look at increasing the penalties for taking the life of an unborn child or terminating a pregnancy against the will of the mother,” Holt said. “That’s the whole point of having this legislation.”
Over the next year Holt said he plans to examine whether penalties are stiff enough or if they need raised.
“I think taking the life of an unborn child should carry the same penalty as taking the life of a 3-year-old child,” Holt said. “If it’s higher or lower, I don’t think that would be appropriate.”
Should Iowa add the unborn child language into code, it wouldn’t be breaking any new ground.
“A large number of states are protecting that child from the moment of conception to birth, which is what we would’ve done in this legislation,” Holt said. “When we come back in next year we’ll also have to have the discussion in terms of do we want to do this and use the term termination of pregnancy to stay sort of away from the life debate but yet give those added penalties to protect the unborn child or do we in fact want to put the term unborn child or unborn person in the legislation so we can have that debate.
“I want to have that debate any time and anywhere because I think science is on our side on this issue and I think it’s the morally correct side to be on as well.”