"I believe that science is very clear. Life begins at conception and UNBORN LIVES MATTER.
From the moment of conception, an unborn child has a unique DNA Code, separate and distinct from the parents. A unique human being. A unique human soul."
-Iowa State Representative Steven Holt (R-Denison)
At 18 – 21 days the unborn child has a heartbeat. Organs are functioning at 8 weeks in that unborn child. Fingerprints appear, totally unique to that unborn child, at about 9 weeks. What a miracle life is. At 10 weeks, the latest science suggests, a child feels pain. Other reports have pain occurring at 20 weeks. That precious unborn child can smile at 12 weeks. Perhaps at the sound of a mother’s voice.
The 20 week bill before us today is predicated upon the idea that a child feels pain and has viability at 20 weeks. But are pain and viability what this is all about? Or is it about protecting the unborn, unique human beings with the building blocks of life that will make them a distinct and special person? The question of when life begins is really the only issue that matters in this debate.
Beginning in 1850, when the heartbeat first became known, we have used it and continue to use it as one of the first checks to determine end of life. We all know that when the heart stops, life ends. We know that inanimate objects do not have heartbeats. Only living things have heartbeats. So since we in fact judge the absence of a heartbeat as the end of a human life or the absence of life, why would it not be logical to use the presence of the heartbeat as the beginning of life? The heartbeat is present as early as 18 to 21 days and it is certainly present at 20 weeks.
Inscribed on the walls above the staircase many of us climb each day as we come to work here at the Capitol are the words of Blackstone – “LAW IS THE EMBODIMENT OF THE MORAL SENTIMENT OF THE PEOPLE.” But what of the hypocrisy of our laws as it relates to the rights of the unborn? In Iowa Code, Section 249A.3 it states, “The woman meets the income and resource requirements of the family investment program, provided the unborn child is considered a member of the household, and the woman’s family is treated as though deprivation exists."
The unborn child counted as a member of the household, but not afforded the right to life.
In a recent wrongful death case here in Iowa, known as Slipknot, the Iowa Supreme Court stated “We hold a child conceived but not yet born at the time of the parent’s death can bring a parental consortium claim after the child is born.” Yet in that same ruling the Court states “We express no opinion as to the existence of the fetus as a person in either the philosophical or actual sense.” Hypocrisy and selective application of principle at its very best, courtesy of the Iowa Supreme Court.
Laws throughout the country allow someone to be charged with the murder of two human beings when a pregnant woman is struck down, but refuse to acknowledge the right of a child to life.
If, as Blackstone states, our laws are the embodiment of our morality, then we have a big problem in Iowa with laws that callously disregard the right to life of unborn children while recognizing them as human beings elsewhere in code. This moral conflict exists because the humanity of unborn children is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore, thanks to science and our own sense of origin.
11 children per day, on average, are aborted in Iowa. A kindergarten class every day. Their lives matter. Unborn lives matter. Maybe with this bill, that number will go down just a bit and a few lives will be saved.
This is not the bill I wanted to vote on today. I wanted to vote on Life at Conception or a heartbeat bill, but this is what we have. I support this bill as a step forward but we must continue to fight for the protection of all unborn children.
We need to pass this bill, and we will ultimately win this fight because as science advances, the reality of life in the womb becomes increasingly difficult to ignore. With debate on this bill we are talking about the horrors of abortion and the right to life, the amazing process of life, and reminding our fellow citizens and those in the media that UNBORN LIVES MATTER. The humanity of the unborn, and their right to life will not be diminished by signs with clever slogans, pink shirts, or Planned Parenthood abortion mills that seek profit over life.
I will support this bill.