Iowa 20-Week Abortion Ban (HF 298)
This law was last updated on Jan 16, 2018
HF 298 would prohibit physicians from performing or inducing an abortion on a pregnant patient when the probable gestational age of the fetus has been determined to be at least 20 weeks, except in cases of medical emergency or to save the life of the “unborn child”.
If a physician finds an abortion is medically necessary, the physician would be required to terminate the pregnancy in a manner which provides the best opportunity for the “unborn child” to survive, unless, in the physician’s reasonable medical judgment, termination of the human pregnancy in that manner would pose a greater risk to the pregnant patient.
A physician who performs or induces, or attempts to perform or induce an abortion would be required to report the following to the health department:
- the probable post-fertilization age determined, and the method and basis of determination;
- if a determination of age was not made, the basis of determination that a medical emergency existed;
- if the age was determined to be 20 or more weeks, the basis of determination of a medical emergency; and
- the method used for the abortion and, in the cases of 20 or more weeks, whether the method used was one that provided the best opportunity for the “unborn child” to survive or, if such a method was not used, the basis of determination that termination of the pregnancy in that manner would pose a greater risk than any other method.
The department would be required to publicly issue an annual report providing statistics compiled from all the reports submitted.
A physician who fails to submit a report on time would be subject to a late fee of $500. A physician who fails to submit a report a year after the due date may face court action. A physician who intentionally or recklessly falsifies a report would be subject to a civil penalty of $100.
Failure of a physician to comply with this provision, with the exception of the late filing of a report or failure to submit a complete report in compliance with a court order, is grounds for license discipline.
A physician who intentionally or recklessly performs or attempts to perform an abortion in violation of this provision would be guilty of a class “C” felony, which is punishable by confinement for no more than 10 years and a fine of at least $1,000 but not more than $10,000.
A medical facility licensed in the state in which abortions are performed or induced in violation of this provision would be subject to immediate revocation of licensure.
Additionally, the medical facility would be ineligible to receive state funding and would be subject to repayment of any state funds received from the state during the time after which an abortion in violation of this provision was performed or induced.
The bill states that “nothing in this chapter shall be construed as determining life to begin at twenty weeks’ gestation. Instead, it is recognized that life begins at conception.”
If passed, the law would take effect immediately.