In the State of Iowa, legislators have proposed a draft bill which would allow a woman who has undergone an abortion to sue the doctor who carried out the procedure if she subsequently experiences emotional stress at any time in her life. If approved, this would be the first law of its kind in the United States.
“What we want”, explained Republican Senator Mark Chelgren who compiled the draft bill, “is for people, doctors and clinics who get wealthy at the expense of the women who abort, to be held accountable”. This law seeks to protect women at a time when they “are under the greatest stress you could imagine”.
Opponents are afraid that this law will discourage doctors from practising abortions due to the constant risk of legal proceedings and Erin Davison-Rippey, a Family Planning representative, fears that the bill would extend to other States with a republican majority.
During a press conference held on Tuesday, Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds, who will take over from Governor Terry Branstad who has been appointed Ambassador to China, did not support the draft bill. However, she has not rejected it either, stating that she would wait to see the final version of the bill before announcing her decision.
Regardless of the outcome of the bill, which could also be rejected for being unconstitutional, it highlights the relevance attached to the issue of abortion in Iowa’s current political programme. In fact, the Governor previously decided to stop funding family planning in favour of a support programme for young people at risk.