Lawmakers propose $2,000 regulatory license for abortion clinics

Iowa Reps. Holly Brink, R-Oskaloosa, and Ann Meyer, R-Fort Dodge, said they support a bill that would require medical facilities that perform abortions to get an additional license on Feb. 18. (Photo by: Linh Ta/Iowa Capital Dispatch)

Medical facilities that perform abortions would need to acquire a special $2,000 license under a bill moving forward in the Iowa House.

House Study Bill 678 requires abortion clinics to apply for a license through the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals and prove there is at least one licensed physician on staff. The department would also be required to inspect a facility prior to issuing a license and would have the authority to evaluate clinics on a regular basis, according to the bill.

Republican legislators argued the bill aims to protect women seeking abortions, but Democrats said it’s a ruse to further constrict the practice in the state.

State Rep. Ann Meyer is a Republican from Fort Dodge. (Photo courtesty of Iowa Legislature)

“This bill does not address legal abortion. There’s nothing that takes the right or legality away from abortion,” said Rep. Ann Meyer, R-Fort Dodge, who works as a certified nurse. “It’s to promote health care and I would say women’s health care.”

But Rep. Beth Wessel-Kroeschell, D-Ames, said health care facilities that perform abortions are already the most highly regulated in the country because of conservative policies.

She said the bill is an attempt to close down facilities that perform abortions.

“This is probably the most heavily regulated industry we have,” Wessel-Kroeschell said. “It’s also one of the most safe medical procedures that we have.”

The bill moved forward from the House Human Resources subcommittee on a party-line vote. It needs approval by the full committee by the end of this week to remain eligible for debate this year.

Linh Ta
Reporter Linh Ta comes to Iowa Capital Dispatch from the Des Moines Register, where she covered trending news, public safety and the suburbs. Most recently, she has covered retail business and followed both national and local trends to provide insight about the issues that matter the most to Iowans. Beyond traditional journalism, Ta has worked as a speech coach with the Des Moines Storytellers Project with the goal of sharing the diverse perspectives of Iowans from all walks of life. She is the 2019 winner of the Young Iowa Journalist Award and the winner of an Iowa Broadcast News Award. Email her at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @linhmaita.