Pro-Life Iowa Republican Kills Maternal Care Bill with Abortion Amendment

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maternal shackles

Here is the proof that ‘pro-life’ Republicans are not actually really concerned with the life of a fetus.

In Iowa, a female Democrat was close to passing a bill to protect the feti of pregnant inmates, when along came a male Republican who attached an amendment (aka, poison pill to kill the bill) demanding that no state money be used for inmate abortions. Now the maternal care bill is dead because just like the assault weapons ban, no one wants an abortion debate side-tracking from their bill.

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Sen. Janet Petersen, a Des Moines Democrat, told the Des Moines Register that she won’t proceed with her bill because of Sen. Kent Sorenson’s, a Milo Republican, amendment, “I would like to make advances on maternal health care for women who are incarcerated. But his amendment causes problems getting this legislation passed.”

Bizarrely, the Register reports that Sorenson said “that when lawmakers discuss maternal health care for prisoners, they also need to consider the life of the inmate’s unborn child.” So he’s saying you don’t get maternal care unless you give us a redundant and irrelevant amendment — and yet, maternal care is care for the “unborn child” and his poison pill ensures that more feti will be endangered. (Maybe he can be prosecuted for this under the protection of the unborn laws Republicans are using to prosecute women.)

An ACLU brief broke down the dangers of shackling pregnant women:

Shackling pregnant women is dangerous and inhumane. Although widely regarded as an assault on human dignity as well as an unsafe medical practice, women prisoners are still routinely shackled during pregnancy and childbirth. Restraining pregnant prisoners at any time increases their potential for physical harm from an accidental trip or fall. This also poses a risk of serious harm to the woman’s fetus, including the potential for miscarriage. During labor, delivery and postpartum recovery, shackling can interfere with appropriate medical care and be detrimental to the health of the mother and her newborn child.

Who’s backing Petersen’s maternal care bill? Oh, just churches, medical associations and justice alliances, and the ACLU. When Pennsylvania put up a similar bill, “The Healthy Birth for Incarcerated Women Act”, it was also supported by Public Health officials, Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, Women’s Law Project, Women’s Way, Maternity Care Coalition, Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project, the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, and more. In other words, the legal, medical and religious communities. So, Mr. Sorensen’s efforts to kill this bill put him at odds with a broad consensus of agreement that shackling pregnant women is a bad idea.

Pennsylvania passed the healthy birth bill in 2010. According to the ACLU, 18 states have laws prohibiting or restricting the use of shackles on pregnant prisoners (AZ, CA, CO, DE, FL, HI, ID, IL, LA, PA, NM, NV, NY, RI, TX, VT, WA and WV).

The kicker? The Register points out, “State officials said they currently cannot authorize the expense of public funds for an abortion unless there is a life-threatening situation or serious medical threat to the mother.”

So, unless Mr. Sorensen’s amendment was intended to force pregnant women in prison to die, his amendment was both redundant and unnecessary — nothing but a poison pill to kill a maternal care bill.

The culture of ‘life’ has been shackled by Republican chains. This Iowa Republican obviously doesn’t care what damage shackling causes to the unborn, which raises the question: Just what is the real purpose of allegedly pro-life legislation, because it’s obviously not really about the unborn.

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