A new bill targeting Carhart

You may have read yesterday’s story in which two key senators said “there’s a way” to draft legislation that would prevent a Nebraska doctor from opening a late-term abortion clinic in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

The Iowa House has passed a bill that would ban abortions in Iowa after the 20th week of pregnancy. Today, Senator Joe Bolkcom announced he’ll file a separate bill on the issue rather than try to amend the House bill. It will be introduced in the Senate Ways & Means Committee, suggesting it will employ some tax-related approach specifically targeting Dr. LeRoy Carhart’s clinic.  Read Bolkcom’s statement below:

Senator to introduce bill preventing Council Bluffs Clinic
Statement from Senator Joe Bolkcom

“I share most Iowans’ goal of preventing Dr. Carhart from moving his practice to Iowa. That’s why I’ll be introducing a new bill later this week in the Ways and Means Committee that will prevent him from coming to Iowa.

“What I won’t do is endanger a woman’s health and safety. As the House-passed bill is drafted right now, there’s no exception for life of the mother, rape, incest or fetus abnormalities that would prevent the baby from surviving after it’s born.

“Not every pregnancy ends the way a family hopes it will. A woman with a wanted pregnancy that goes terribly wrong must face an awful decision that none of us ever want to face. A Nebraska-style total ban will only make a difficult situation worse, and that’s no place for politicians to meddle.

“Republicans know this. Their version of the bill is a political ploy. In fact, according to IowaPolitics.com key supporter Senator Johnson said in an interview last week that ‘the bill makes it more dangerous for pregnant women with a medical emergency to have to wait until the last minute if the woman truly needs an abortion after 20 weeks.’

“What’s more, constitutional experts say the bill as drafted is blatantly unconstitutional. There’s not much point in passing an unconstitutional bill that will only embroil Iowa in an expensive court battle.

“We can all agree that there should be fewer abortions. I hope Senate Republicans will put politics aside and help me pass legislation that will prevent Dr. Carhart from coming to Iowa.”

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.