The Iowa Senate Democrats made it very clear they do not care that a notorious late-term abortionist comes to the state. They don’t care about fetal pain, Leroy Carhart’s history of alleged neglect and incompetence, or the Constitution. Their primary concern is making sure Mike Gronstal is reelected in 2012.
That is why, despite promises to the contrary, the Senate Democrats refused to allow a vote on a late- term abortion ban. Instead, they offered a bill aimed at preventing Leroy Carhart from opening his late-term abortion mill in Council Bluffs. They don’t care if he opens one in Des Moines, Iowa City, Davenport or Cedar Rapids. All that matters is Council Bluffs voters think Gronstal tried to prevent Carhart from coming to their hometown.
The Senate Democrats have shown that not only are they utterly lacking in morals and principles, they think Iowans are dumb. They believe they devised a shrewd political maneuver that protects their Majority Leader. Council Bluffs voters are not falling for the ruse. “It doesn’t do anything to stop late-term abortions in Iowa,” said House member Mary Ann Hanusa, who represents the Council Bluffs area. “A lot of Senator Gronstal’s constituents are upset that he did not bring up House File 657 and he did appear to stand in the way of it.”
The Democrats’ alternative allows late-term abortions as long as the clinics are within “close proximity” to a hospital with a unit that specializes in premature babies. House Republicans and Govenor Branstad have expressed opposition to that bill.
“I would hope that, eventually, the Senate will understand that we need to do more than just deal with just the situation in Council Bluffs,” Branstad told reporters. “It would be a tragedy for Iowa to become the late term abortion capitol of the Midwest and we should, I think, pattern what we do after what they did in Nebraska. It was effective there and that’s why I’m hopeful, in the end, the senate will see that.”
Democrat Senator Joe Bolkcom, the floor manager of the Democrats alternative bill, argues that House File 657 is unconstitutional. His argument holds no merit. The legislatures in Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma have all passed bills that ban abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy. The bill withstands court challenges.
“The truth of the matter is, we know there is a scientific body of evidence that unborn babies can feel pain by the 20th week,” Hanusa told TheIowaRepublican.com. “How can the legislature justify not protecting someone who is in pain? As part of our common humanity and as passionate people, we have an obligation to help them.”
The Iowa House has not been in session since the Democrats passed Senate File 534 on a straight party-line vote. Kent Sorenson and other Republican senators offered several amendments, which all fell on straight party-line votes. Sorenson deserves credit for taking the fight to Gronstal on this bill. The Iowa House should soundly reject this worthless legislation and demand the Senate take up HF 657.
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