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Vol. 75/No. 22      June 6, 2011

Iowa legislators seek
further limits on abortion
DES MOINES, Iowa—State legislators here are moving to further restrict women’s access to abortion and block plans by Dr. LeRoy Carhart from moving his abortion clinic to Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Carhart, one of only a few doctors in the United States who perform late-term abortions, currently operates a clinic in Omaha, Nebraska, but has faced new restrictions since the state in April 2010 banned abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. After the new law was passed, Carhart announced he would open a clinic in Council Bluffs, about five miles east of Omaha.

The Iowa State Senate passed a bill May 16 requiring new facilities that provide abortions after 20 weeks be built near a hospital with an intensive-care unit. Only four cities in Iowa have hospitals to meet these requirements, none in Council Bluffs. The bill will now go back to the House.

Some Iowa state politicians are pushing to enact the same 20-week limit on abortions that exists in Nebraska and want to require women seeking an abortion to view an ultrasound of their fetus. To date only Louisiana and Arizona have made ultrasounds mandatory.

Opponents of women’s right to abortion plan to open an anti-abortion “clinic” in West Des Moines, according to the Des Moines Register. The clinic “aims to decrease the more than 6,000 abortions performed in Iowa annually,” the paper said. “The centerpiece … is an ultrasound room to see the fetus’s beating heart—a strategy that the clinic director believes is as effective as any in encouraging a woman to carry her baby to term.”

The facility, called Informed Choices Medical, says it will provide health services for women but will not provide condoms, or refer women to get contraception. The clinic recommends “natural family planning” and abstinence.
Related articles:
Abortion rights curbed by Indiana state gov’t
Attacks fall hardest on working-class women
Defend women’s right to abortion!  
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