February 16, 2011 — A three-person subcommittee of the Iowa House Human Resources Committee on Monday passed a bill (HF153) that would ban abortion in the state, even in cases of rape or incest, but does not define specific criminal penalties, the Des Moines Register reports. The measure, proposed by Rep. Kim Pearson (R), would change state law to say that "life is valued and protected" beginning at conception, according to the Register. Pearson and Rep. David Heaton (R) voted for the measure, while Rep. Beth Wessel-Kroeschell (D) voted against it (Petroski, Des Moines Register, 2/15).
Wessel-Kroeschell warned that the measure's broad language could have unintended consequences, such as banning some forms of contraceptives or punishing women who smoke or drink alcohol while pregnant. Opponents of the bill say it directly contradicts the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade and is meant to be a challenge to that decision. The measure now moves to the full committee for debate (Glover, AP/Chicago Tribune, 2/14).