Measure would restrict late-term abortions

A Senate proposal would put new restrictions on late-term abortions by requiring that any facility offering them be in “close proximity” to a specialized hospital.

Iowa City Democrat Joe Bolkcom says requiring the clinic be close to a hospital would protect the life and health of the mother and fetus. He concedes the restriction is designed to block a Nebraska doctor from opening a late-term abortion clinic in Council Bluffs.

The measure allows the Department of Public Health to regulate and license the clinics. In addition to all the requirements health facilities must meet, abortion clinics “will be located in close proximity to a hospital that provides the appropriate level of perinatal care.”

Bolkcom says the requirement would block the Council Bluffs clinic. The issue could be debated Thursday.