Archive for  March 1st 2018

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DES MOINES, Iowa–The Iowa Senate passed the so-called “fetal heart beat bill” Wednesday, which bans most abortions. Supporters acknowledge that the bill, if later signed into law, likely faces a constitutional challenge.

The bill outlaws abortions after doctors can detect a heart beat, which is generally around six weeks of gestation. It does provide an exception if the mother’s life is at risk. It does not provide exceptions in the case of rape or incest. The change would also mean that a doctor who performs an abortion after a heart beat is detected could be criminally charged with a felony and face up to five years in prison.

The final vote was 30-20. All Republicans and the one Independent in the senate voted for the bill. All Democrats opposed it.

Read the bill here. 

The debate on the bill, which would bring  major changes to the abortion laws in the state, lasted 20 minutes with three Democrats speaking in opposition.

A Des Moines Register poll released earlier this month showed 55% of Iowans believe life begins at conception.

Iowa’s current law, which the Republican-led legislature approved last year bans most abortions after 20 weeks of conception.

DES MOINES, Iowa- Three healthcare organizations held a news conference Wednesday to call for passage of mental health legislation. On Tuesday the house passed HF-2456 which would put adopt recommendations made by a group studying this issue. The vote was 98-0, the bill was sent on to the Senate.

“It’s quite extraordinary for a significant policy bill to pass unanimously out of a chamber,” said Peggy Huppert, National Alliance for the Mentally Ill , Iowa Executive Director. “The Governor has voiced her strong support for this bill, it enacts into law the recommendations of the complex needs work group.”

Also the group has collected close to 5,000 signatures calling for this type of change.

This legislation is also supported by law enforcement.

“The mental health system right now, when we deal with somebody with a mental health issue, that person ends up in our jail, where they don’t get the treatment they need,” said Jason Sandholdt, Sheriff of Marion County. “We’ll often sit for hours or days in local emergency rooms.”

“Iowa’s behavioral health system is broken,” said Dr. Joyce Vista-Wayne. “As a physician I fight every day to ensure my patients receive the highest quality care possible, as a psychiatrist, I fight to navigate a fragmented system that fails to connect Iowans in need of mental health.”