March 21: UPDATE on the Heartbeat bill
Here’s a quick update on the public hearing that was held at the Capital on Tuesday evening (March 20), which I (Roger Rowland, Iowa Right to Life board President) attended.
There’s an article on p. 3A of the Des Moines Register today (March 21) that does a pretty good job of summarizing it.
Although the current bill deals with BOTH heartbeat and with fetal body parts, about 99% of this discussion focused on the heartbeat issue.
This public hearing was held in front of the the House Human Resources Committee (about 21 of them), plus about a dozen or so other House members who chose to attend. The legislators were not allowed to speak or ask questions. The audience in the room was not allowed to cheer, applaud, etc. It was run on the basis of about 40 speakers (every other speak was “for” or “against” the bill). Thus the only people who spoke were those speakers who had signed up. The speakers list was pretty well orchestrated…i.e. the Planned Parenthood people arranged for their various speakers to come and our Coalition of Pro-Life Leaders arranged for our various speakers to come. Sort of an emotional meeting listening to everyone tell their story. Some speakers were “experts” (i.e. OBGYN doctors, pastors, etc)…..and others were ordinary people telling about their various experiences.
Since no one was allowed to speak or react in any way other than the speakers who were given three minutes each to speak, then it was very difficult to gauge the reaction of the legislators. However, I’d guess that most everyone in attendance already knows their feelings on this subject….and thus expect that very few minds were changed as a result of the hearing. Keep in mind, however, that just changing the mind of 1-2 people in the House who are up in the air and torn on this issue could be the difference between a win or a defeat when it comes to a vote on the House floor. We do not yet know when (or if???) it will now be scheduled for that House floor debate and vote.
We (the public) need to continue contacting our Iowa House legislators to tell them that we support the heartbeat bill….and we expect them to support it as well.