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Richson: Headed for extremity

BY BRIANNE RICHSON | APRIL 02, 2013 5:00 AM

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In a staunch challenge against the storied legal case Roe v. Wade, which has been made a staple in U.S. history classes everywhere, North Dakota recently enacted new abortion laws that set a unprecedentedly extreme tone for abortion opponents across the nation.

The bills most notably outlaw abortions at the earliest detection of a fetal heartbeat, often as early as six weeks along, and also abortions due to genetic defects.

Iowa, a state in which more than 90 percent of its counties do not have an accessible abortion provider, does not have such extreme laws, but with existing Republican sentiments, one cannot help but wonder if extremity is where Iowa is headed.

Sen. Joe Bolkcom, D-Iowa City, said issues of abortion in Iowa are often rooted in the question of using state funding.

“We haven’t passed any Draconian restrictions,” said Bolkcom in reference to the action taken by North Dakota. However, opposition to Roe v. Wade is not uncommon in Iowa, either, particularly when a handful of abortions in Iowa do qualify to be funded by the state.

Such qualifications include cases of rape, incest, or fetal anomaly, or in other words, cases where something goes extremely wrong with the pregnancy.

“You’re talking a few thousand dollars, but there are those who don’t want to spend a dime on it,” Bolkcom said.

While everyone is entitled to a separation of church and state, it doesn’t seem irrational that some leeway should continue to be granted to fund abortion in such cases.

And, if all are entitled to their beliefs about abortion, they are certainly entitled to make a decision regarding their own bodies.

In November 2014, North Dakota will vote on a bill that would rigidly define life as beginning at conception, which doesn’t seem like much of a separation.

It is also worth noting that statistics from the Guttmacher Institute for sexual and reproductive health research show 73 percent of women receiving abortions do identify with a religion.

A clear cut separation between religious beliefs and action might not be so readily attainable after all.


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