The Republican-led Iowa House passed a ban on telemed, or webcam, abortions on Tuesday. 52 Republicans and three Democrats voted in favor of House File 2175. Rep. Tom Shaw of Laurens was the lone Republican not to vote in favor of the bill. He did so primarily because it does not ban all abortions.
The bill was authored by Rep. Matt Windschiltl of Missouri Valley and Rep. Kevin Koester of Ankeny led the floor debate. Koester cited federal Food and Drug Administration reports that 14 women have died from taking the abortion-inducing drugs used in webcam abortions.
“A huge thanks to my fellow House Republicans for advancing HF 2175 tonight,” Windschitl posted on his Facebook page. “This legislation follows the will of Iowans and eliminates the practice of webcam abortions in our state. Rep. Kevin Koester did a masterful job floor managing this bill through the legislative process! Countless innocent lives can be saved by this legislation. Yet one more step forward in the fight for the unborn!”
Republicans argue that abortions conducted via webcam are dangerous not only to the aborted baby, but also the pregnant woman. A doctor is not present during the procedure, but instead administers the abortion-inducing drugs after chatting with the patient via teleconference.
The Iowa Board of Medicine also expressed concerns that webcam abortions endanger the pregnant woman. Last year, they voted 8-2 to ban the procedure. However, Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the Board of Medicine’s decision. A Polk County judge then placed a stay on the telemed abortion ban while the case works its way through the court system.
Iowa Right to Life has led the lobbying effort to ban webcam abortions. The Family Leader
and Personhood USA also supports the effort.
The three Democrats voting in favor of the webcam abortion ban were Nancy Dunkel of Dyersville, Daniel Muhlbauer of Manila and Phyllis Thede of Bettendorf. Their House Democrat colleagues argued vehemently against the bill.
In particular, longtime abortion proponent Beth Wessel-Kroeschell of Ames railed against House Republicans for advancing the legislation. She also read off a laundry list of inconveniences a baby would cause for women, including colic. Colic is an infant crying for more than three hours per day.
Wessel-Kroeschell has been dubbed a “champion” for abortion by Planned Parenthood. She was clearly advocating for abortion as a form of birth control while speaking on the House floor.
“I want to let you know that we as women know about babies. We love them. We adore them. But we also know that they have the challenges they bring. They have colic, the sleepless nights, the finances, the disciplinary challenges, the education challenges, the birth defects, the mental health issues, the learning disabled…the list goes on and on. And what women do know is that we know where our limits are. We absolutely know where our limits are –whether we’re ready, whether we’re physically ready, whether we’re emotionally ready, whether we’re finically ready to be parents– And we have the right to make those decisions.”
The telemed abortion ban faces a very uncertain future in the Democrat-led Iowa Senate. They are unlikely to even allow the bill to come up for debate.
UPDATE: Based on information provided by The Family Leader at their annual Capitol rally, we erroneously reported that Personhood USA supported the webcam abortion ban. They do not. We apologize for the error.
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