Special Legislative Session Underway

Des Moines, Iowa — Members of the Iowa House and Senate are back at the state Capitol, as Republican lawmakers plan to pass a six week abortion ban today (Tuesday).

House Speaker Pat Grassley convened the House shortly after 8:30.

Democrats object to today’s (Tuesday’s) rules. Republicans have set time limits on a public hearing as well as debate among lawmakers, to ensure a vote on the bill will occur before midnight. Senator Janet Petersen, a Democrat from Des Moines, says the voices of Iowans who oppose the bill are being muzzled.

Beyond lawmakers, hundreds of people are in the statehouse this (Tuesday) morning to speak at public hearings and for a midday rally against the bill, but the roar of the crowd began hours earlier.

The bill has exceptions for medical emergencies and fetal abnormalities as well as cases of rape or incest. Former candidate for Governor, and Sheldon native Bob Vander Plaats is president and CEO of The Family Leader, a Christian conservative group that has registered in support of the so-called heartbeat law. He says the legislature will be sending a message to the Iowa Supreme Court, which recently deadlocked over the governor’s request to let the 2018 Fetal Heartbeat Act she signed go into effect.