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March 24th, 2011

Late-Term Abortion Ban Passes Out of House Committee

By Craig Robinson

After being stymied in the House Human Resources Committee by two pro-life legislators in for months, House File 5, a bill that would prohibit aborting unborn children after 20 weeks of gestation, gained approval last night in the Government Oversight Committee.

The committee, which is comprised of six Republicans and three Democrats, passed the bill by a vote of five to four.  Rep. Kim Pearson, who also serves on the Government Oversight Committee in addition to the Human Resources Committee, voted against the bill.

Democrats offered a strikeafter amendment with identical language to House File 153, Pearson’s personhood bill.  Democrats believed that certain Republicans intend to offer the same amendment on the floor of the house so they tried to force them to make that change in committee.

The Democrats’ goal was to force Republican into a having a public hearing on that exact language, which would mean the measure would take even longer to get to the senate, as well as showcase the disagreement within the pro-life movement on the issue.  The amendment failed 4-5, with the three Democrats and Pearson voting in favor.

It was obvious to everyone in the room that the Democrats were pulling some shenanigans, since none of the three Democrats on the committee would ever vote in favor of a personhood bill.  These Democrats now get to be in at enviable position where they actually voted for a life at conception bill before they voted against it.

After all the amendments were dealt with, Democrats once again tried to make an issue about why it was necessary for the bill to be moved to the Government Oversight Committee instead of Human Resources.

Rep. Chris Hagenow, who chairs the committee and managed the bill, responded by saying similar things have been done during his short tenure in the House.  Rep. Dawn Pettengill, a Republican who represents Benton County, did a great job of putting everything into perspective.

Pettengill said, “Bills of this importance get moved all of the time.  This isn’t about the process, it’s a about a 20 week-old child who feels pain.  You can hear its heartbeat, and its mother can feel it move inside of her.”

Despite being debated in committee after the House adjourned for the day, a number of legislators who do not serve on the Government Oversight Committee attended the meeting.  Among them was Rep. Matt Windschitl, who authored House File 5, and Rep. Mary Ann Hanusa, who is from Council Bluffs.

Other Republicans in attendance were Rep. Erik Helland and Rep. Tom Shaw.  Shaw has been a vocal opponent of the bill.  On the Democrat side, Rep. Beth Wessel-Kroeschell, Rep.Vicki Lensing, and Rep. Cindy Winckler attended the meeting

Speaker of the House Kraig Paulsen moved the bill to the House Government Oversight Committee when the bill lacked the necessary votes to clear the Human Resources Committee due to Kim Pearson’s and Glen Massie’s opposition to it. Twelve of the 21 members of the House Human Resources committee are Republicans. The bill needed eleven votes to pass out of the committee. Pearson and Massie’s unwillingness to support the bill would have precluded the bill from advancing.

The bill is now scheduled to be debated in the House next week.

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About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country. Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states. Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site, Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing. Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.

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