little green footballs

Iowa Republicans Sponsor Bill to Jail Women Who Have Abortions for 'Murder' of Zygotes

Thu, Feb 7, 2013 at 12:00:14 pm

A group of eight Iowa Republican legislators has introduced a bill that defines all abortion as "murder," sending women and doctors to jail even in cases of rape or incest, and even if the abortion involves nothing more than a single-celled zygote.

Really! That's what they actually said.

Iowa Republican Rep. Tom Shaw

State Rep. Tom Shaw says that he authored House File 138 to protect human life, whether "you're a zygote, an infant, a teenager or an adult."

The bill defines a "person" as "an individual human being, without regard to age of development, from the moment of conception, when a zygote is formed, until natural death."

"Murder includes killing another person through any means that terminates the life of the other person including but not limited to the use of abortion-inducing drugs," the measure states without making any exceptions for rape or incest.

Republican state Rep. Rob Bacon, who is co-sponsoring the bill, told the Ames Tribune that he wanted to "protect the life of the unborn" because "[t]here's still some of us that believe life begins at conception."

During a Wednesday interview with Denver Bible Church pastor Bob Enyart, Shaw explained that defining a fertilized egg as a "person" in Iowa's murder statute "just simplifies everything."

And forget about that "Republican rebranding" smokescreen; Rep. Rob Bacon isn't having any of it.

Iowa Republican Rep. Rob Bacon

Bacon concedes the bill has no chance of becoming law. The bill was sent to the judiciary committee, of which Wessel-Kroeschell is a member. She said it could make it out of that committee but would never become law.

"It will never be brought up in the Senate, we know that," Bacon said.

Despite that, Bacon felt it was important to send a message that some Republicans remain committed to ending legal abortions.

Bacon knows there are those that will question backing a lightning rod bill, especially one doomed from the outset. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, while speaking at the Republican National Committee meeting two weeks ago, said the GOP has to "stop being the stupid party." He referenced candidates that "damaged" the party with "bizarre and offensive comments" like Senate candidates Todd Akin in Missouri and Richard Mourdock in Indiana who advocated for banning abortion in the case of rape or incest.

Republicans lost badly nationally in November's election, and lost ground in the Iowa House.

"I know where Bobby's at with this. I've felt long and hard after the last election that we need to change our message," Bacon said. "Within our party, we're going to differ on social issues. One of them is the right to life. There are some who say that we need to ease up on this because it's not winning us anything. My thought is we can't let this drop. Even if I'm in here screaming to empty walls, I will always be a voice for the unborn."