DES MOINES, Iowa -- Room 116 at the Iowa State Capitol burst into applause on Monday night after the fetal heartbeat bill won approval from the State Senate Judiciary Committee.
Supporters of the bill, like Gary Leffler of Windsor Heights, were extremely happy with the development.
"We feel like that's the primary right that's given to each individual--life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness--and it starts with life," said Leffler.
But when life begins is a matter of debate. According to a new Iowa Poll, 55% of Iowans say life begins at conception.
State Senate Study Bill 3143 would ban abortions when a fetal heartbeat is detectable. State Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Brad Zaun supports the bill because he says the unborn are currently not represented.
"I believe abortions are murder," said State Senator Zaun. "When you have a car wreck, a drunk driving wreck, when there's an expectant mother that dies, there's manslaughter charges. It includes two manslaughter charges. When someone murders a pregnant mother, there's two charges...the courts identify that there's life when a mother is pregnant in the cases that I just mentioned."
Danielle Peugh of Des Moines opposes the bill because she says women should be able to choose whether to carry a child.
"I don't think that's right because around, what was it, six weeks, you might not even know that you're pregnant at the time," said Peugh. "Because women do have irregular periods, and so if it's six weeks and you find out that you're pregnant and can't get an abortion, I think that's not fair, because what if the woman didn't want to have a kid, what if, say, she was taken advantage of, what if financial, mental issues are going on and they just can't support a kid?"
State Senator Nate Boulton says the bill is a step in the wrong direction for Iowa.
"Here we are again doing something that will threaten access to reproductive healthcare," said Boulton. "We will lose OB/GYN providers in this state if this becomes law, and so we have to be serious about what the consequence of our votes are."