Why the controversy over a ‘heartbeat’?

In the recent weeks, there has been a bill that has made its way through the Iowa Senate. This bill is about abortion prevention in Iowa. Given it is a touchy subject, I will try to not offend the audience on either side of this argument. I would like you to keep in mind that this is my opinion, and it is something that I think that people should consider when thinking about this bill.

The Iowa Senate voted on this bill which made it through the house with 30 votes for and 20 against. This bill makes it illegal for a women that is carrying a child to abort the pregnancy as soon as a heartbeat is heard. The only way that a woman is able to have an abortion is through the danger of the woman’s life. This means that if she is going to die, this is the only way in which an abortion can take place. If a doctor performs an abortion, after the embryo has a heartbeat, he/she can face a Class D felony. This felony is punishable with up to five years in prison.

This bill does an excellent job reaching out to women who could die due to pregnancy issues. However, this bill doesn’t reach everything that I think is important. I ride the fence of Pro-Life and Pro-Choice. While the bill protects women who are in immediate danger of dying, due to the potential arrest the doctor can face, he or she may wait too long to save the mother. This may be especially true for women who are not in the process of dying, but due to underlying conditions, will go through pregnancies that will cause severe problems that may kill them. For example, ectopic pregnancies occur when the fertilized egg attaches outside of the uterus. Often, this can occur in the fallopian tube. An extremely high number of these pregnancies lead to miscarriages. Furthermore, if the pregnancy continues, it will eventually come to the point where the fallopian tube bursts, in which case the mother will experience life-threatening bleeding. With this bill, mothers, who know about their ectopic pregnancy and know that there is a high probability that they will have a miscarriage and die, will be expected to continue with the pregnancy until their internal bleeding begins.

I believe that a woman has control over her own body, and that she has control over herself. However, abortion shouldn’t be used as a type of birth control. Instead, sexual education must be taught in schools. The public must be educated, and the best time for this is when they are already learning. The average age for a person to first have sex is the age of 18. Also 75 percent of the pregnancies among 15-19 year-olds are unplanned. In areas that don’t have a publicly funded family planning program, there is a 73 percent higher pregnancy rate among 15-19 year olds. These people would have less of a chance of having unplanned pregnancies if they were educated on birth control and sexual protection.

Another problem with this bill is that it doesn’t take into account victims of rape. Rape is the forceful act of receiving sexual favors from another individual. Rape has affected 96,000 people in the United States in 2016. What about these victims? If they become pregnant will they be expected to carry the baby of their assailant? Especially if they view the pregnancy as a reminder of when they were assaulted. Or worse, if the rape was incestuous in nature. Democratic Senate Minority Leader Janet Petersen said it was unfathomable that the bill didn’t include cases of rape or incest. She was also quoted saying, “There are no other provisions in Iowa code that say an Iowan cannot access medical care unless it is to prevent death. Under this Republican bill, you would force a child rape victim to have a baby, no matter how young she is. That is unfathomable.” I couldn’t agree more with Ms. Petersen, what are we supposed to do with these children having children? Are we really supposed to turn a blind eye to them, and deny them help? What kind of world can we live in where children are having children?

To wrap up my opinion, I would like to state that abortion shouldn’t be used as a birth control method. Both men and women should be responsible for taking precautions before having sex. A great way to make sure this happens is by having people educated in sexual protection. Also, I don’t believe that women who become pregnant through rape and incest should be required to carry out a pregnancy that can damage them psychologically. It could remind them of the violence that was struck against them.

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James Kappes is a sports columnist for The Lorian.

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