ACLU on Abortion
As Reynolds inked the bill, backers' cheers nearly drowned out the echoing chorus of "My body, my choice" shouted by protesters just outside the door.
"I believe that all innocent life is precious and sacred," Reynolds said from her formal office before signing a bill that will outlaw nearly all abortions in the state. "And as governor, I have pledged to do everything in my power to protect it. And that's what I'm doing today."
Senate File 359 will take effect July 1, though Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa said they plan to quickly challenge the law. Under the legislation, physicians will be barred from performing most abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. Experts said that heartbeat can be heard about six weeks into a pregnancy--often before a woman realizes she's pregnant.
The bill singles out and excludes abortion from a host of programs that fulfill the government's obligation to provide health care to certain populations. Women who rely on the government for their health care do not have access to a health care service readily available to women of means and women with private insurance.
The government should not discriminate in this way. It should not use its power of the purse to intrude on a woman's decision whether to carry to term or to terminate her pregnancy and selectively withhold benefits because she seeks to exercise her right of reproductive choice in a manner the government disfavors.
I was discussing this case with the head of the ACLU, who had made a statement that the purpose of their organization was to speak for and defend those who could not speak for and defend themselves. I asked whether or not this 33-week-old fetus qualified as a human being incapable of speaking for or defending itself. He artfully dodged answering the question. I told him that there were many premature infants in our neonatal intensive care unit; I asked him if he would speak for and defend the rights of a 28-week-old baby who was in an incubator and on life support. He replied that that was a no-brainer; of course the ACLU would defend such an individual. He realized his answers were not logical, he said, but he felt that ultimately a woman had the right to terminate a pregnancy until the second that child is born.
A government review of Title X family planning services confirms that the program serves a unique and valuable purpose, is cost-effective, and is effectively managed. However, current funding is inadequate. Had Title X funding kept up with inflation it would now be funded at nearly $700 million. We ask that Title X be funded at $375 million, which is $92 million above its current funding level.
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