DES MOINES — Iowa doctors would be barred from performing abortions after the 20th week of a pregnancy or face criminal penalties under a bill that passed the Iowa Senate on a 32-17 vote Tuesday evening.
Senate File 471 would not penalize women who seek or get a later-term abortion, but rather would create a situation where doctors who perform the abortions could face a felony and up to 10 years in prison. Two Democrats and Ocheyedan independent Sen. David Johnson joined 29 Republicans in supporting the bill while 17 Democrats opposed it.
Sen. Mark Costello, R-Imogene, the bill’s floor manager, said current Iowa law makes it illegal to terminate a pregnancy after the end of the second trimester and the bill’s provisions would move up that timeline to 20 weeks post-fertilization.
“I wish we could go even further but tonight we have a wonderful bill that we can at least save many children from 20 weeks and on,” said Sen. Randy Feenstra, R-Hull.
The bill provided an exception for circumstances in which the mother’s life was in danger or to avert a serious health risk or physical impairment, Costello added, as well as an exception for “fetal anomaly incompatible with life” up until 24 weeks of the pregnancy.
“I think that it’s a decent bill that we need to go ahead…