The Simpsonian

New House abortion bill to add ultrasound requirements

by Laura Wiersema, Reporter

On March 12 the Iowa House of Representatives passed a new abortion bill that establishes prerequisites for performing an abortion.

Under the new bill, a physician performing an abortion should certify that the woman has undergone an ultrasound and been given the opportunity to see the ultrasound, be given a description of the ultrasound or hear the heartbeat of the fetus. There are consequences for any physician who doesn’t comply with this bill.

An important thing to remember is that it has only passed as a bill. In order to be a law, it must pass through the Iowa Senate.

MacKenzie Bills, a junior, doesn’t think the bill will pass into law.

“It’s pretty overwhelmingly Republican controlled in the Iowa House. It’s not going to pass on the Senate side because they’re Democratic controlled,” she said.

But if the bill wasn’t likely to pass in the first place, why did the Republicans in the House try?

Nick Laning, president of Simpson Students For Life, felt he understood their aim.

“Abortion is an issue of life,” Laning said. “It’s not defined that way by everyone, but a Republican majority in the House probably looks at it as a moral issue.”

Judy Walden, director of the Women’s and Gender Studies program, disagreed.

“This is an attempt to chip away at women’s reproductive freedoms,” she said. “It’s part of a bigger national pattern of attempting to eliminate abortion by making it more difficult to get.”

Bills said Republicans felt women didn’t fully grasp the gravity of their situation when deciding whether or not to get an abortion, which is why they made the bill.

“It’s making the situation more difficult for the woman,” she said. “It’s already extremely difficult and women are not making these decisions lightly.”

Many states have a similar law in place, but there is one important difference with this bill. Women are given the option to see the ultrasound, whereas in some states it’s mandatory.

“When you’re giving the woman an option to look at the ultrasound image or not, you’re not really taking anything away from her,” Laning said.

Even though it doesn’t seem to take any rights away from women, Walden said it makes the abortion process more difficult.

“This is an attempt to chip away at women’s reproductive freedoms,” she said. “It’s part of a bigger national pattern of attempting to eliminate abortion by making it more difficult to get.”

According to a study in the January 2014 issue of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Journal, about 99 percent of the women who chose to view the ultrasound still went through with the abortion.

Whatever the goal of the Republicans in the Iowa House was, Bills thought it could’ve been handled another way.

“They should talk about the procedure and talk about what’s going on,” she said. “But trying to add a visual component and trying to shame someone into not making a right decision for them or for the moment or for the baby is not fair and is not justified in my eyes.”

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