Shaw: Fetal-heartbeat bill violates human rights

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Shaw: Fetal-heartbeat bill violates human rights

Joshua Housing

Joshua Housing

Joshua Housing

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Girls under the age of consent in Iowa would be forced to carry a child despite probable endangerment to their quality of life.

Nichole Shaw

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Iowa House Republicans advanced the fetal-heartbeat abortion ban that the Iowa Senate previously passed in February. The fetal-heartbeat ban legislates that if doctors perform abortions in Iowa once a fetal heartbeat is detected, they will be subjected to up to five years in prison and a $7,500 fine — unless in the case of a medical emergency, which has not been explicitly explained or defined. The woman undergoing this procedure would not be prosecuted.

While this bill is headed in the right direction — in respect to the fact that once a heartbeat is heard, a human being has been created and thus has certain rights inherently endowed upon it that should not be ignored (such as the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness) — it is still a colossal mistake because there are no exceptions for pregnant young girls. That the ban would still hold girls under the age of 16 accountable to this bill is a human-rights violation.

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The age of consent in Iowa is 16, yet this bill would force girls younger than that to carry a child when they themselves are still children, according to Rep. Mary Mascher, D-Iowa City. Being pregnant at the age of 8 or 9 would definitely be harmful and potentially life-threatening in the rightful opinion of Mascher, because these girls would not be equipped to endure the physical, mental, and emotional liabilities and obligations that comes along with pregnancy.

According to a Save the Children report, teen pregnancy is the leading killer of girls and women ranging from 15 to 19 at nearly 30,000 deaths from complications. Therefore, despite valid evidence from international nongovernment organizations, such as Save the Children, who can attest to the fatality and danger of teenage childbirth, Iowa would still make it illegal to get an abortion after detection of fetal heartbeat. Iowa is subjecting girls to probable high-risk situations, endangering their lives and making it illegal for them to get an abortion.

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It is my belief that abortion is unethical unless the mother’s quality of life is at risk, whether it be life-threatening or harmful to her physical or mental state. The fetal-heartbeat ban has no exceptions for young girls whose life would be put at stake. Therefore, the ban is immoral because young girls in Iowa would most probably forced to endure inevitable, life-threatening complications.

According to the U.N., “repealing anti-abortion laws would save the lives of nearly 50,000 women a year … Restrictive legislation which denies access to safe abortion is one of most damaging ways of instrumentalizing women’s bodies and a grave violation of women’s human rights.” If the Legislature continues to support bans on abortion such as this one, it will be contributors to the denial of human rights in retrospect to U.N. calls to action.

It’s time to stop marginalizing young girls into restrictive, dangerous roles of sexual constraints and limitations regarding control over their bodies. The fetal-heartbeat ban is a human rights violation and must be reconsidered.

RELATED: Guest Opinion: UI medical students oppose fetal-heartbeat bill

 

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