Category: abortion

Unique Perspective: Central Iowa Women Share Evolving Thoughts on Abortion

DES MOINES, Iowa — Governor Kim Reynolds has no plans to appeal the decision a Polk County judge made to strike down the “fetal heartbeat’ bill earlier this year. The bill would have banned abortions after six weeks. Meanwhile, more than a half-dozen states have passed anti-abortion legislation so far this year.

Data shows even without the ban, the number of abortions has steadily declined in Iowa over the last five years. According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, 2,849 abortions were performed in 2018. The majority of those who received the procedure were college-educated white women in their twenties who lived in the state’s most densely populated counties like Polk, Linn, and Black Hawk.

As divisive as the topic is, two central Iowa women say abortion was a real option for them when they were younger but admit their perspectives have changed.

“I got pregnant at 15 and I had to decide if I had to keep this baby or not,” says Amy Babcock. She decided to keep her baby and cancel her abortion appointment at Planned Parenthood. Babcock who grew up believing abortions were unacceptable says her change of heart came when she got pregnant. She tells Channel 13, ending her pregnancy was a viable option because she felt she was too young to care for a baby. Having grown up in the foster care system, she wasn’t comfortable placing the child into foster care or giving it up for adoption. Babcock believes abortion is situational and there’s no black and white scenario to have one. “I went through a lot of feelings about it and I still do have a lot of feelings about it. I feel like it should be up to whoever it is. It’s their situation. It’s their life.”

For Kim Lehman, the decision to end her pregnancy has stuck with her since she was in her twenties. “I remember lying on the table and they got started. It hurt so much I begged them to stop the machine and they did but said they had to finish. It was horrific,” she describes.

Lehman regrets having that abortion and now considers herself a pro-life advocate. Her thoughts on abortion changed after her own procedure left her in a downward spiral of deep regret and self-harm.  She says she wasn’t educated on fetal development at the time.

“I wish every woman had been given an opportunity to know the facts.  I know, had someone told me, my baby would still be alive,” Lehman tells Channel 13. She now calls abortions selfish and convenient and believes the procedure is a moral crime. “If someone gets into a car accident with a pregnant woman and the baby dies, that person is going to be convicted. But a woman can drive down to a clinic and kill her baby,” she says.

Lehman argues, no one wins with abortion however Babcock says carrying an unwanted baby to full-term isn’t always the best solution for some women. “We can`t make people into good parents. Everyone always says adoption is the right answer but you have to trust people that they are not going to hurt their baby for nine months and people do,” shrugs Babcock.

However, the women agree others need to continue sharing their own personal stories about abortion and that there needs to be more education surrounding the procedure.

Pro-choice advocates worry if an abortion ban were to ever pass in Iowa, women would find unsafe ways to carry out an abortion. Although Reynolds has decided not to appeal the ruling, she says she plans to find other ways to protect unborn babies.



Switched Sides – Wednesday at 10

Two women who have changed their mind on one of our country’s most contentious issues.

Jodi Long Reports…Wednesday on Channel 13 News at 10

Georgia’s governor signs a controversial abortion bill into law

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Tuesday signed a bill that would ban abortions if a fetal heartbeat can be detected — a law that the American Civil Liberties Union says it will challenge in court.

Currently in Georgia, women are allowed to undergo abortion procedures up to their 20th week of pregnancy. Starting January 1, the bill Kemp signed generally would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as six weeks into a pregnancy — when many women don’t yet know they’re pregnant.

“(The bill) is very simple but also very powerful: a declaration that all life has value, that all life matters, and that all life is worthy of protection,” Kemp, flanked by supporters of the bill, said Tuesday morning before signing the legislation at the state Capitol.

“I realize that some may challenge it in a court of law. But our job is to do what is right, not what is easy. We are called to be strong and courageous, and we will not back down. We will always continue to fight for life.”

The legislation says “no abortion is authorized or shall be performed if the unborn child has been determined to have a human heartbeat.” It includes some exceptions, including if the pregnancy risks the life or poses substantial and irreversible physical harm to the pregnant woman.

Proponents, such as the Republican author, state Rep. Ed Setzler, say abortion is a “barbaric procedure” and that many other options exist for women, including adoption and the “morning after” pill.

Critics, including the ACLU, say Georgia’s legislation “would ban safe, legal abortion and criminalize the most intimate decision women and couples make.”

Outside the Capitol, dozens protested the legislation Tuesday morning — including four women dressed in red cloaks in the style of “The Handmaid’s Tale.” Those four stood in silent protest, holding signs with various messages, including “Trust Women.”

Another protester, Gloria Tatum, held a sign reading, “Say no to Republican and anti-woman sexist laws.”

Tatum said that if supporters of bills such as this have their way, Roe v. Wade will be overturned and access to abortion will be gone.

Women are not going to take it, she said.

“They will get a revolution in this country like they’ve never seen before, because we are not going back,” said Tatum, 76, of Decatur, Georgia.

ACLU and Planned Parenthood say legislation will be challenged

Andrea Young, the executive director of the ACLU of Georgia, told CNN the organization is in the process of preparing a court challenge to the bill. She said the ACLU believes it’s a clear violation of Roe v. Wade.

“Today’s women can only thrive in a state that protects their most basic rights — the right to choose when and whether to start a family. Georgia can’t afford to go backward on women’s health and rights,” Young said in a written statement Tuesday. “We will act to block this assault on women’s health, rights and self-determination.”

Staci Fox, CEO of Planned Parenthood Southeast, said she had a few messages.

To Georgia’s governor, she said, “We will see you in court.”

To the lawmakers who supported the bill, she said, “We are coming for their seats.”

An anti-abortion group says it withdrew support of the law over exceptions

One anti-abortion group told CNN Monday it no longer supports the so-called heartbeat bill because it does not go far enough.

Genevieve Wilson, executive director of Georgia Right to Life, said the group “believes in promoting social justice for all preborn children, without exception.”

The bill includes some exceptions for situations of medical futility or where the mother’s health is at risk as well as in cases of rape or incest before the 20-week mark, if an official police report has been filed.

Wilson said those exceptions are “discriminatory and wrong” and create “a two-tiered framework for determining which children in the womb are allowed to live and which are not.”

She said the group supported the bill until the exceptions were added during the legislative process.

Georgia’s Republican-majority state House passed House Bill 481, called the Living Infants Fairness and Equality Act, with a 92-78 vote on March 29.

Several states have similar legislation

Legislators in other states have pursued similar bills. Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed a bill into law in March that would ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed similar legislation in April.

But many times such bills are held up in committees, rejected in legislative votes, vetoed by governors and struck down in courts. No state has been able to put a so-called heartbeat bill into lasting practice.

In January, an Iowa judge struck down that state’s fetal heartbeat bill, declaring it unconstitutional. The US Supreme Court has previously declined to weigh in after lower courts blocked bills in North Dakota and Arkansas.

Georgia’s film industry could be affected

Actress Alyssa Milano has staunchly opposed the bill and had urged the film and TV industry, which shoots many projects in Georgia, to get out of the state if it becomes law. She used a hashtag on Twitter that says #HB481IsBad ForBusiness.

“There are over 20 productions shooting in GA & the state just voted to strip women of their bodily autonomy,” she said in a March tweet. “Hollywood! We should stop feeding GA economy.”

The Writers Guild of America East and West also condemned HB481, saying it “would make Georgia an inhospitable place for those in the film and television industry.”

“It is entirely possible that many of those in our industry will either want to leave the state or decide not to bring productions there,” the Writers Guild said.