House Passed ‘Unborn Person’ Bill Fails To Clear Senate Committee

Des Moines, Iowa — A Republican senator is using his authority to block consideration of a bill that critics say could make in vitro fertilization illegal in Iowa.

Under current law, there are criminal penalties for terminating a human pregnancy without consent. A bill approved by the House last Thursday increases those penalties, but for the crime of “causing the death of an unborn person” without consent. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Brad Zaun of Urbandale refused to bring the bill up for a vote in his committee.

Zaun blocked consideration of another bill that would create a new crime of “human smuggling” of undocumented immigrants, with a possible 10 year prison sentence for a conviction. House Republicans passed the bill last Thursday, saying it’s needed to give Iowa law enforcement authority to arrest those they suspect of illegally transporting migrants into Iowa.

Relatives and religious organizations providing assistance to asylum seekers had urged senators to defeat the bill, arguing they could be arrested for driving someone to school or work. Zaun says the bill needed work and his committee didn’t have time to make adjustments.

Friday is the deadline for policy bills like this one to have passed the House and cleared a Senate committee. The deadline works in reverse, too, and a couple of Senate-passed bills have failed to make it out of House committees this week.


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