Iowa House passes fetal personhood bill as critics raise alarm about IVF

Iowa State House Republicans passed a fetal personhood bill Thursday evening, the latest as the national debate on in vitro fertilization (IVF) continues.

The bill, H.B. 2575, increases the penalty for the nonconsensual ending of a pregnancy, making it a felony and increasing jail time.

Opponents are taking issue because the bill changes the current language from “terminating a human pregnancy” to the “death of or serious injury to an unborn person.” They argue it is another attack on abortion since Roe v. Wade was struck down, CBS 2 Iowa reported.

According to the bill, an unborn person is considered “an individual organism the species homo sapiens from fertilization to live birth.”

Under Iowa law, a class A felony is punishable by up to a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole. A person who causes the death of an unborn person “without the consent of the pregnant person” would be guilty of a class A felony, NBC news reported.

A person who unintentionally causes the death of an unborn person would be guilty of a class B felony, according to the bill. A class B felony is punishable by up to 25 years in prison under Iowa law.

Iowa Republicans passed the bill just weeks after the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos are children and clinics can be held liable for wrongful death if the embryos are destroyed, kick-starting a national conversation about IVF and post-Roe reproductive rights.

Alabama fertility clinics that paused IVF treatments due to the court ruling are gearing up to restart after the state passed a law that protects patients and clinics from legal liability.

Democrats in Iowa worry that the newly passed bill will have a larger impact on reproductive rights including birth control and IVF, CBS 2 reported.

Iowa Republicans will stop at nothing to ban abortion, even if it means criminalizing people undergoing IVF treatments,” Iowa House Democratic Leader Rep. Jennifer Konfrst said in a statement. “The Alabama-style bill Republican politicians passed this week goes too far and Iowans are tired of politicians taking away their reproductive freedom.”

The bill passed the House and now moves on to the state Senate.

Updated at 4:38 p.m. EST.

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