Yesterday, the Iowa Senate voted along party lines 26-23 to pass a bill that seeks to prohibit Dr. LeRoy Carhart from opening a clinic in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The bill mandates that clinics offering abortion services after 20 weeks, which would include Dr. Carhart’s proposed clinic, be located near a hospital with an intensive care unit. Since there is not a hospital in Council Bluffs that meets the standards specified in the bill, Dr. Carhart’s clinic would not be able to open there if the bill passes. The bill will now go to the Iowa House of Representatives, where it likely will not pass.
In November, Dr. LeRoy Carhart of Bellevue, Nebraska announced plans to open three new comprehensive reproductive health clinics in Maryland, Iowa, and Indiana. Dr. Carhart began practicing at the Reproductive Health Services clinic in Germantown, Maryland in December. The clinics will offer comprehensive family planning, male sexual health care, education programs, and abortion services, including specialized care in late abortion cases. Carhart cites current Nebraska law, which prohibits abortions after 20 weeks gestation, as the reason he must travel beyond his home state to provide this specialized care.
Currently, Iowa law allows women to have an abortion after 24 weeks if her life is endangered.