A recent editorial in the Des Moines Register raised irrational concerns about a proposed pro-life amendment to the Iowa state constitution as well as a pro-life bill. The proposed amendment would ensure that Iowa “does not secure or protect a right to or require the funding of abortion.” It must be approved by the current general assembly and the next before being brought to a vote by Iowans. Senate File 523 aims to make the deaths of preborn babies without the mother’s consent a felony. The level of felony would depend on the exact circumstances. The law would not apply to the mother, the abortionist, or to a person acting in self-defense. The bill defines an “unborn person” as “an individual organism of the species homo sapiens from fertilization to live birth.”
Unfortunately, the opinion of the Register’s editorial board was heavy with misguided views rather than facts. Here are some of the editorial board’s errors:
Error #1: The editorial board claims that abortion is a “medical intervention.”
An intervention is an act meant to improve a situation. This is impossible with abortion since it is the deliberate act of ending a human life. The intended victim is killed, and the second victim – the mother and often the father as well – is left with the emotional and physical effects of that abortion. Studies show that post-abortive women have an increased risk of drug use, alcohol use, depression, and suicide. The pro-life approach would have offered true intervention which would have helped the parents out of their tough situation while allowing their child to live.
Error #2: The editorial board misrepresents the penalty for the death of a preborn baby in instances other than abortion.
The board says, “this bill [SF523] would get tough on someone who gets into a car crash with a woman who happens to be pregnant. The offender could receive life in prison without parole if the pregnancy is ended.” Except that in Iowa, if you are driving drunk and kill someone, it is a Class B felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison — not life. And the bill itself says that if someone is “drag racing” and causes the death of a preborn person, they would be charged with a Class D felony and if convicted would receive a mandatory five years in prison. Again, not life.
As an example of why it’s important to charge reckless drivers with a crime if a preborn person dies is a case from Vermont. A driver under the influence of drugs crashed into a family in their minivan. The mother was six months pregnant with healthy twins who were killed in the crash, yet Vermont law says no one died in the crash and even the news reports stated there were “no fatalities.” The babies’ family tried to get the law changed, but Vermont is an extremely pro-abortion state with zero restrictions and will stop at nothing to protect that.
Error #3: The Des Moines Register editorial board claims Republicans are attempting to define “when life begins.”
The board calls the bill an “attempt by GOP lawmakers to define when life begins…” But no politician can do that. After all, it’s already been done. Life begins when science says it begins and science always points to the moment of fertilization as the point when a new human being with his or her own DNA, unique from his or her parents, begins.
Error #4: The editorial board claims “a fetus is not its own person.”
A fetus may not be considered a legal person, but they are each very much their own person. Each embryo from the moment of fertilization has his own DNA. He is a completely separate individual from his mother. Everything that makes him unique has already been determined, down to his eye color.
In Human Life and Health Care Ethics, Vol. 2, James Bopp states, “The first cell of a new and unique human life begins existence at the moment of conception (fertilization) […] Every human being alive today and, as far as is known scientifically, every human being that ever existed, began his or her unique existence in this manner, i.e., as one cell. If this first cell or any subsequent configuration of cells perishes, the individual dies, ceasing to exist in matter as a living being. There are no known exceptions to this rule in the field of human biology.”
Error #5: The board ridiculously states that a “pregnant woman who drinks a glass of wine is not serving alcohol to a minor,” therefore, a fetus isn’t a person.
Yet women who drink even a sip of alcohol while pregnant are often criticized because this can cause fetal alcohol syndrome. How can causing harm to be a fetus be criminalized when killing a fetus isn’t?
The board goes on to say that women who use in vitro fertilization or birth control or who have miscarriages could be charged with a crime. But here’s the thing: purposefully creating and then destroying human life is not acceptable and should be, at the very least, strictly regulated. In addition, birth control is harmful to women but no one would even know that a woman was pregnant if her birth control were to act as an abortifacient — not even her. And finally, a woman who has a miscarriage would be acting much differently than a woman who has an abortion. Just as a parent loses a child from an illness, police would have no reason to investigate unless something seemed off to them.
The Des Moines Register Editorial Board wraps up their piece by calling it a waste of time for state employees to have to implement laws and a waste of money to have to deal with any lawsuits over pro-life laws. Was it a waste of time to outlaw slavery? Is it a waste of money to protect school children from violence? Children are being slaughtered in the United States because of socioeconomic concerns. Each of them is worth every second and every penny that it takes to save them.
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