Iowa Legislative Scorecard 2017

Iowa’s Legislature wrapped up their session in April.  For the practice of medicine and women’s health care, there were some long awaited wins and some devastating losses. The following is a scorecard of the bills that most impacted Iowa ACOG.

SF 465 – Medical Liability Reform – Passed

This is a comprehensive bill which was crafted by Iowa Medical Society through a committee chaired by ACOG Fellow Dr. Mike McCoy.  The bill includes a cap for noneconomic damages, strengthens expert witness standards, requires a Certificate of Merit, creates an affirmative defense for the practice of evidence-based medicine, limits contingency fee arrangements, and expands Candor (previously passed legislation for Communication and Optimal Resolution).  ACOG strongly supported this bill so this was an exciting win!

SF 250 – Breast Density Reporting – Passed

Iowa joins over 20 other states in requiring that mammogram reports to physicians and letters to patients state the patient’s breast density category and increased risks associated with dense breasts. ACOG opposed this bill as interference with the practice of medicine.

SF 2 – Defunding of Iowa’s network of Family Planning Clinics - Passed through budget

Early in the legislative session this bill was brought forward to eliminate Iowa’s network of family planning clinics and to decline $3.9 million dollars in federal funding for those clinics.  The plan was to replace these services by directing patients to Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC’s) and primary care physicians in the state. The bill did not pass by the second deadline, but was reincarnated as part of the Health and Human Service’s budget where it did successfully pass.  Iowa ranks last in the nation for OB/Gyn’s per capita so denying qualified providers the opportunity to care for patients will have devastating effects on access to LARC and comprehensive family planning services. ACOG opposed

SF26 – Right to sue for emotional distress from abortion – Did not progress to vote

A dangerous precedent would have been set by this bill which allowed a patient to sue a provider without statute of limitations, purely for the issue of emotional distress caused by an elective termination of pregnancy. ACOG opposed

SF 471 – 20-week post-fertilization abortion ban – Passed

Initially a “20-week abortion ban,” this bill took on a life of its own.  The criminal penalties (felony) were removed, but the final version of the bill included a 72-hour waiting period and mandatory ultrasound for all termination procedures regardless of gestational age.  The 20-week post-fertilization (22 weeks by LMP) ban did not include exceptions for lethal anomalies, health of mother or rape/incest. Iowa now has some of the most restrictive laws in the country when it comes to elective termination of pregnancy. Currently there is an injunction on the 72-hour waiting period and the supreme court of Iowa will hear the case in July 2017. ACOG opposed

SF 253 – “Personhood” Bill – Did not progress to vote

If this bill had passed, it would have given the fertilized egg the same rights as a newborn infant.  In addition to all terminations of pregnancy, it would have out-lawed IUD’s and IVF.  The inability to provide hands-on education about family planning would have compromised the ACGME accreditation of both the medical school and residency programs in Iowa.  ACOG opposed.



American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
409 12th Street SW, Washington, DC  20024-2188
Mailing Address: PO Box 96920, Washington, DC 20024-9998