Anti-abortion activists in Iowa are taking a new tact when it comes to efforts to criminalize abortion. Instead of writing new abortion restrictions, Iowa Republicans are trying to re-write criminal laws to include abortion.
State Rep. Rob Bacon (R-Slater) and eight other Republicans have introduced a bill that would alter the definition of a person in murder cases to “an individual human being, without regard to age of development, from the moment of conception, when a zygote is formed, until natural death.” The re-write grants no exceptions for rape, incest or to protect the life of the mother.
Democrats have come out strongly against the bill, noting the deep hypocrisy driving the measure. Rep. Beth Wessel-Kroeschell, (D-Ames), summed it up to the Ames Tribune. “We’re talking about the victim of rape would go to prison along with her rapist,” Wessel-Kroeschell said. “It’s very hard to understand the feeling behind it. It’s a health care issue, I mean, sometimes in order to save someone’s life a woman could possibly need an abortion. When we talk about being pro-life, my new question is ‘whose life?’”
The law stands no chance of passing, but that’s not stopping Republicans from pressing ahead. And despite the fact that Republicans as conservative as Gov. Bobby Jindal (LA) called on the party to move away from widely unpopular positions like trying to re-criminalize abortion, Beacon promised not to back down. “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.”
That singular purpose — to ban abortion at all costs — will be with us legislative session after session until the radicals are voted out. These lawmakers are not serious about governing. They are on an evangelical mission and will not rest until it’s complete. In the meantime, they will continue to propose laws like these and maybe even one will pass. And then what? Are we prepared to investigate every miscarriage to determine if a woman somehow caused it and then prosecute those women? Are we prepared to tell a woman that her life is not as important to the state as the fetus she is carrying that cannot survive outside her womb? Because we’re one law away from having to ask those questions, make those judgment calls.
In fact, in North Dakota, we may be there already, which means we can’t afford to just dismiss the Iowa move as a stunt. It’s deadly serious.
Photo from euthman via flickr.