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House Journal: Page 1628: Friday, April 27, 2001

prior to performing the procedure. The bill, in a rare move, would subject medical
professionals to criminal penalties for failing to comply.

House File 341 is substantially the same as House File 2229, which I vetoed one
year ago. The concerns that I expressed then remain today and are as follows:

1. Providing prescribed information - While I firmly support providing information
that allows a patient to make an informed decision regarding a medical procedure, the
requirement in this bill is redundant with current law and therefore not necessary.
Iowa law currently requires a medical professional to obtain, from the patient, a
written consent to any medical or surgical procedure. (Iowa Code 147.137) This written
consent includes information on the risks associated with the procedure to be
performed. Therefore, women are already being provided information they need to
make an informed decision about the abortion procedure.

2. 24 Hour Waiting period - This bill also assumes that women do not invest
enough time before the procedure weighing the emotional, medical, and spiritual
factors involved in making this extremely difficult decision. I do not believe that
assumption is true.

Current parental notification laws, which I supported, also provide an opportunity
for every young woman to have help and assistance in making this decision. Medical
facilities providing abortions and family planning services currently make information
available to a woman contemplating an abortion. A number of other organizations,
including many churches, synagogues, and faith-based organizations, should and do
make information on alternatives available. From this, I conclude that any
information a woman wants or needs is available to her.

Given the current laws in Iowa and the level of information currently available to
women, I must again conclude that this bill is not about providing informed consent.
Rather it is about government prescribing what a woman should think about, when a
woman should think, and for how long a woman should think. This goes beyond the
appropriate role of government in the context of this legal procedure.

The decision to have or not have an abortion is and should be the patient's decision.
It should be made pursuant to her own values, in consultation with her physician and
her God. Government's role is and should be limited.

For the above reasons, I hereby respectfully disapprove House File 341.

Thomas J. Vilsack


MR. SPEAKER: The Chief Clerk of the House respectfully reports
that certificates of recognition have been issued as follows.

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