Iowa Bill Regarding Fetal Death and Feticide (SF 54)
This law was last updated on Sep 6, 2018
SF 54 would redefine “stillbirth” and “spontaneous termination of pregnancy”, and describe fetal death for the purposes of the required filing of a fetal death certificate, so that all these terms are based on the fetus’ weight relative to 350 grams.
The average fetus weighs 350 grams somewhere between the 20th and 21st week of gestation.
The bill would redefine “murder” in regards to the victim, to apply to an individual human being from the point of gestation when the fetus reaches a weight of 350 grams or more until natural death. Murder would not include a stillbirth, fetal death, miscarriage, or an abortion necessary to preserve the life or health of the pregnant person or of the fetus and every reasonable medical effort not inconsistent with preserving the life of the pregnant person is made to preserve the life of a viable fetus.
The bill would make it a class “C” felony for any person who intentionally terminates a human pregnancy, with the knowledge and voluntary consent of the pregnant person, after the fetus reaches a weight of 350 grams or more. Current law permits abortions up until the end of the second trimester.
A failed attempt at such an abortion would be considered attempted feticide, which would be a class “D” felony.
Fetus Aborted Alive
A person who intentionally kills a fetus that has reached a weight of three hundred fifty grams or more aborted alive would be guilty of a class “B” felony.
A person who performs or induces an abortion and who willfully fails to exercise that degree of professional skill, care, and diligence available to preserve the life and health of a fetus that has reached a weight of 350 grams or more would be guilty of a serious misdemeanor.