In May, Iowa’s legislature enacted a “fetal heartbeat” abortion ban which prohibits doctors from terminating fetuses with a detectable heartbeat. A Michigan-based pro-life organization sees that law as an important starting point for further pro-life legislation. The group seeks to make Iowa’s abortion ban even more comprehensive by extending legal protection to unborn children conceived in rape or incest.
The group, “Save the 1,” has a special interest in protecting children conceived in rape, incest, and sex trafficking: All of the organization’s members either became pregnant or were themselves born under such circumstances.
Jennifer Christie, a board member for Save the 1, feels children conceived through mal-intent deserve just as many protections as other unborn children. “I have a 3-year-old son and he plays with Legos and he pronounces hospital ‘hostable’ and he sleeps with a bunny slipper and he was conceived in rape,” she told the Des Moines Register. “And his heart beats like everybody else’s.”
Earlier this week, Save the 1 filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit brought by Planned Parenthood against the state of Iowa. The lawsuit disputes Iowa’s new heartbeat statute on the grounds that the law violates women’s rights to due process, liberty, safety, happiness, and equal protection under the law.
Save the 1, meanwhile, argues that the same fundamental rights listed by Planned Parenthood also extend to unborn children conceived in rape or incest. Thus, Iowa’s heartbeat legislation should not be repealed, but rather expanded to increase protections for the unborn.
Attorney Rebecca Kiessling, acting president and founder of Save the 1, clarified her organization’s stance on the heartbeat measure. “We support the heartbeat bill. We want to see the legislation upheld,” Kiessling stated but added that she desires the measure to become more comprehensive in the future.