Iowa State Senator Seeks to Add Abortion Restrictions to Anti-Shackling Bill

It takes a very special kind of lawmaker to take a bill to end shackling of pregnant inmates and turn it into a bill to restrict abortion rights. But that’s just the kind of man Iowa Senator Kent Sorenson (R-Milo) is. Sorenson believes that the anti-shackling bill should be amended to “prohibit state resources being used to facilitate or perform abortions on female inmates held in state or county custody,” according to the Quad City Times, and the issue is of utmost importance because someone told him she was forced to take a prisoner to have an abortion once, and then witness the entire termination against her will.

Of course, he can’t tell you who told him that. It would violate her privacy.

Sorensen said his resolve on the issue was bolstered by a conversation he had Monday with a female county deputy sheriff who told him she was ordered to transport a female inmate for an abortion and be present during the medical procedure “even though she was morally opposed to it.” He declined to identify the deputy or the county where she worked because he promised her anonymity.

“She was forced to stand there and watch the procedure be performed. That was a tear-jerker listening to her talk to me about that,” Sorenson told his colleagues during a Senate floor speech. He later told reporters he found the situation to be “appalling.”

“I don’t think we should use state dollars to transport a patient or an inmate to a facility to have an abortion performed,” he said.

Both the president of the Iowa State Sheriffs and Deputies Association and the Iowa Department of Corrections spokesman said they’ve never heard of such a thing, and can’t find records of any such event.

The Times editorial board was much more direct in what Sorenson was really doing with his “anonymous” source.

Sorenson intends to gum up this unbelievably busy legislative session by forcing an abortion debate where none is needed.

Sorenson pledged to keep his source anonymous. So no one else has an inkling if this claim is remotely true or an issue anywhere else in Iowa.

Iowa Department of Corrections representative Fred Scaletta has no data from county jails, but reports zero requests from pregnant state prison inmates for abortions.


Is Sorenson making up a story to create a new debate just for the sake of having a debate, not to actually create policy? It wouldn’t be shocking. After all his favorite turn of the phrase when it comes to discussing abortion is to refer to every clinic that terminates pregnancies as a “baby butchering slaughterhouse.” As he told Iowa Pro-Life Action, “As a Christian State Senator I know that life begins at conception. To murder an unborn baby, for ANY reason, is wrong, plain and simple…I’m committed to this.” He then pledged his support to ending abortion in any way he could.

Even when it involves fictitious pregnant female inmates, apparently.

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