House, Senate ban 20-week abortions
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The subject of abortions has always been a hot topic in the United States, but this past Tuesday it hit a little closer to home with the Iowa Senate passing Senate File 471, voting to ban abortions after 20 weeks into a pregnancy. The bill was passed by the Iowa House last week, and the bill will now be sent to Governor Terry Branstad’s desk for a final signature.
Senate File 471 passed 30-20 with all yea votes coming from Republicans including one independent. This bill also establishes a 72-hour waiting period for all abortions.
For some women on campus, finding somewhere that will give the necessary information when such decisions have to be made can already pose a challenge.
In addition, the cost of having to go to the doctor so many times can be difficult to manage, as Anna Nett, a representative for Students Together for the Advancement of Reproductive Rights (STARR) pointed out.
“It’s not enough to take a day off; often, you have to take two days, maybe three days that same week just to go to the clinic,” Nett said.
Others think that completely outlawing abortion would be a move in the right direction for the Iowa Legislature. A sophomore social work major at UNI who requested anonymity echoed this mindset when discussing the legislation.
“It’s really cool that the government it finally stepping in and saying that it’s illegal at a certain point,” she said.
The student said she thought it was nice to finally see the state legislature take a step towards outlawing the practice of abortion.
“That’s really late into the pregnancy,” she said on 20-week abortions. “At that point, it’s beyond a cluster of cells, and it’s actually developing.” She said she sees no reason why it should be legal.
UNI Right to Life President Estere Tremaine and Treasurer Ryleigh Hancox addressed the abortion ban in a written response.
“We hope this ban sets up a good platform to continue to make progress on this issue and bring awareness to the topic,” Tremaine and Hancox wrote. “The loss of human life is always tragic, and our organization believes that it is important to be the voice for the voiceless and protect the defenseless.”
According to Catherine MacGillivray, head of the Women’s and Gender Studies program at UNI, denying women the choice when it comes to late-term abortion is unacceptable.
“To deny these women that very difficult choice, when they are already facing this cruel dilemma — I think it is very inhumane to our sister citizens,” MacGillivray said.
According to a 2013 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 92 percent of abortions happen within the first 12 weeks, and only 1.2 percent occur at or after 21 weeks.
Some see this bill as the Republicans pushing forward their agenda. Chris Larimer, an associate professor of political science, pointed out the majority control that Republicans now enjoy in both the Iowa House and Senate.
“Everything in the last six years that would have been stopped in the Iowa Senate is now being pushed through,” Larimer said.
According to MacGillivray, what many women find troubling is that statistics say that most people don’t get abortions 20 weeks into their pregnancy and that the ones who do are usually faced with a “terrible decision.”
MacGillivray explained that when a woman must look at a 20-week abortion, it is not merely because she does not want to have a child, but because this is the final option. In effect, it is a terrible decision that could be taken away from many women if this bill does get signed into law.
“I would suffer greatly, as I think most people would,” MacGillivray said. “And I hope to never be faced with such a decision.”