All the anti-abortion bills introduced by Iowa Republicans this year

Iowa Democrat Jennifer Konfrst speaks to protesters rallying at the Iowa Capitol rotunda in opposition to the new ban on abortion after roughly six weeks of pregnancy introduced by Republican lawmakers in a special session on Tuesday, July 11, 2023. (AP Photo/Hannah Fingerhut)

By Nikoel Hytrek

January 29, 2024

Despite abortion being a losing issue for Republicans across the country, Iowa Republicans in the statehouse have decided to double down on pushing anti-abortion policies.

Last year, several anti-abortion bills were introduced, and a July special session led to the implementation of a near-total abortion ban. That ban is currently blocked by a temporary injunction while the policy is debated through the court system, though Gov. Kim Reynolds and Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird have filed petitions for the Iowa Supreme Court to dissolve the injunction.

Here are the anti-abortion bills that have been introduced so far.

HF 2057: MOMS program

What it does: This bill would loosen the requirements for any group that aims to manage the More Options for Maternal Support (MOMS) program. It would also remove the requirement that the name of the manager be published online. The program was created to direct Iowa taxpayer dollars to support anti-abortion centers around the state. These centers use lies, manipulation, and intimidation to dissuade people from getting abortions for any reason. They aren’t licensed or regulated and they aren’t bound by medical privacy laws such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Sponsors: introduced by Rep. Jon Dunwell (R-Newton).

HF 2031: anti-abortion curriculum

What it does: This bill would add requirements to the human growth and development curriculum for all first-grade-12th-grade students in Iowa and show a three-minute animation showing organs developing in a fetus. It also requires showing a rendering or animation like one developed by an extreme anti-abortion group with a reputation for creating deceptive videos. The video used as an example in the bill is computer generated, argues life begins at conception, and lies about actual fetal development.

The requirements start as early as first grade. The people pushing the legislation say this education is the only way to stop younger generations from opposing abortion bans.

Similar bills have been introduced in Kentucky and West Virginia and it passed in North Dakota last year.

Sponsors: Luana Stoltenberg (R-Davenport), Mark Cisneros (R-Muscatine), Anne Osmundson (R-Volga), Tom Determann (R-Clinton), Brad Sherman (R-Williamsburg), Helena Hayes (R-New Sharon), Bob Henderson (R-Sioux City), Barb Kniff McCulla (R-Knoxville), Cindy Golding (R-Cedar Rapids), Dean Fisher (R-Montour), and Zach Dieken (R-Granville).

HF 2122: Abortion pill certification and database

What this bill does: This bill limits access to abortion medication by making it illegal to receive by mail and imposing a 19-step process for access. The bill also creates an electronic record of who received the pill and the medical personnel involved in dispensing it.

Under this bill, the only way to get abortion pills would be through a health care provider. The only way for a pharmacy, medical facility, or practitioner to get pills for patients would be by enrolling in the state’s certification program.

The bill is full of lies and scare tactics about medication abortion. It includes stricter penalties including finding violators are automatically guilty of a class “D” felony.

Sponsors: Tom Determann (R-Clinton), Helena Hayes (R-New Sharon), Bob Henderson (R-Sioux City), Anne Osmundson (R-Volga), and Brad Sherman (R-Williamsburg).

SSB3006: Conscience in health-care bill

What it does: This bill allows health-care providers, health-care institutions, and insurance companies to refuse to offer services that violate their “conscience” despite institutions and companies not being people capable of emotion.

The bill also says these places can’t be held liable for any harm caused by their refusal, and they can’t be punished by the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services or any licensing board.

Passed subcommittee on Jan. 24 by Sens. Jeff Taylor (R-Sioux Center) and Jason Schultz (R-Schleswig).

Sponsors: Sen. Brad Zaun (R-Urbandale)

Not new but still on the table

Two anti-abortion bills introduced last year are still on the table to be considered this year.

HF 146: ban abortion medication in Iowa

What it does: Iowa House Republicans would make it a felony to “manufacture, distribute, prescribe, dispense, sell or transfer” abortion pills in Iowa.

Despite abortion being legal in Iowa until the 20th week of pregnancy, the bill would make it a crime for someone to provide the most common method of abortion in the country. The penalty would mean “confinement for no more than 10 years and a fine of at least $1,370 but not more than $13,660.”

Sponsors: Jeff Shipley (R-Fairfield), Helena Hayes (R-New Sharon), Steven Bradley (R-Cascade), Mark Thompson (R-Clarion), Brad Sherman (R-Williamsburg), Bob Henderson (R-Sioux City), Anne Osmundson (R-Volga), Mark Cisneros (R-Muscatine), Charley Thomson (R-Charles City), Luana Stoltenberg (R-Davenport), and Skyler Wheeler (R-Hull).

HF 510: total abortion ban

What it does: This 53-page bill was introduced in February 2023 and it didn’t even get a subcommittee hearing. But it’s still alive and it does a number of things:

  • Defines life at fertilization, and uses the term “unborn child” for all stages of pregnancy (zygote, embryo, fetus), while also declaring each stage having equal protection under the law.
  • Prohibits all abortion medication, it also outlaws the manufacture, possession, or distribution of abortion medicine, including by mail, and any action that aids someone getting the medicine
  • Defines medical emergencies only as physical health
  • Requires internet service providers (ISPs) to ban websites and apps that are operated by or for abortion providers or abortion funds.
  • Specifies that enforcement of these laws comes from private individuals, modeling the Texas bounty hunter abortion ban.

Sponsors: Jon Dunwell (Newton), Zach Dieken (Granville), Helena Hayes (New Sharon), Steve Bradley (Cascade), Mark Thompson (Clarion), Anne Osmundson (Volga), Jeff Shipley (Fairfield), Brad Sherman (Williamsburg), Luana Stoltenberg (Davenport), Bob Henderson (Sioux City), Skyler Wheeler (Hull), Tom Gerhold (Atkins), Dean Fisher (Garwin), Craig Johnson (Independence), Martin Graber (Fort Madison), Stan Gustafson (Norwalk), Tom Jeneary (Le Mars), Phil Thompson (Boone), Charley Thomson (Charles City), Ken Carlson (Onawa)

There is a dedicated effort from Iowa Republicans to make abortion harder to access in Iowa. If we missed any in this roundup, please reach out and we’ll add it here.

  • Nikoel Hytrek

    Nikoel Hytrek is Iowa Starting Line’s longest-serving reporter. She covers LGBTQ issues, abortion rights and all topics of interest to Iowans. Her biggest goal is to help connect the dots between policy and people’s real lives. If you have story ideas or tips, send them over to [email protected].

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