DES MOINES, Iowa - It's do or die for many bills at the Iowa Statehouse this week as the first legislative "funnel" deadline approaches Friday.
Any bills not passed out of a committee by Friday are considered "dead" for the rest of the session; since lawmakers often return to their home districts on Fridays, anything not passed out of committee by Thursday evening is often considered dead per the funnel deadline. As of Thursday, two competing bills tackling abortion laws in Iowa held uncertain futures.
The first bill, SF 253, asserts that life begins at conception, and would be meant to take the issue to the courts to decide. Some Republican lawmakers in both the House and Senate support this legislation, but as of Thursday evening, it had not made it out of a House subcommittee, and was not discussed in the Senate Judiciary Committee where it was assigned, rendering it likely "dead" this session.
A second bill, SF 53, bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. This bill's companion on the House side did not make it out of committee, but it could still survive on the Senate side, should the Health and Human Resources Committee pass it on after its Thursday evening meeting. Until that meeting happens, lawmakers and activists on both sides of the issue are keeping a close eye on it. Should it not pass out of committee Thursday night, it too, would be dead.