The term “unborn person,” came one step closer to being added to Iowa’s legislative lexicon as the “fetal homicide” bill passed the Iowa Senate Tuesday and was received by the House on Thursday.
The bill, which passed the Senate 31-18 in a party-line vote, would make causing “the death of an unborn person” a felony if caused while committing a crime and would officially define the term “unborn person” in the Iowa Code.
“As used in this section, ‘unborn person’ means an individual organism of the species homo sapiens from fertilization to live birth,” according to the bill.
Rachel Junck, secretary of College Democrats, said she is appalled by the bill and its implications for women’s reproductive rights.
“This bill may be pretending to be about crime, but sets a precedent that gives a group of cells the same rights as a person, which is not scientifically accurate,” Junck said.
Jacob Minock, president of College Republicans, disagreed, saying the legislation was not just a victory for the pro-life movement but “for human rights by acknowledging the start of human life,” but doubted its ability to succeed in a court challenge.
“Unfortunately due to precedents already set, if passed and signed into law it wouldn't surprise me if it was struck down by a judge,” Minock said.
The Iowa Supreme Court and Iowa’s Fifth Judicial District Court have each ruled against anti-abortion laws in the last year, but the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Jake Chapman, R-Dallas, has insisted the bill is not about abortion.
“This does not relate to abortion … This is nonconsensual [termination],” Chapman said.