Bills enter first step at Capitol Hill

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Subcommittees are in full session. Subcommittees are the first step for a bill to become a law in the legislative process and the public is welcome to speak to their legislators about the policies addressed in the bill.

I chaired one sub last week and served as a member on one other. The one sub I chaired was about the condition of dense breast tissue. This condition causes mammograms to be very difficult to read because the dense tissue masks the picture from the X-ray and makes the cancer very difficult to see, and easy for doctors to miss a diagnosis of breast cancer. According to Dr. Robert Schreck of Des Moines, the condition occurs in 1 out of every 6 woman in Iowa. The bill would require doctors to notify a woman who gets a mammogram that they have this condition and should get a different type of mammogram that can make the cancer easier to detect. It also gets the Department of Public Health involved in educating woman and doctors about the condition, so more early diagnosis of breast cancers can be made. The bill was passed out of the subcommittee. It was also passed through the Human Resources committee and is now eligible for debate on the Senate floor.

The other sub I was on was a much larger and more controversial meeting. The subject was the sale or purchase of fetal body parts which many of us are opposed to. During the meeting the University of Iowa offered an amendment to allow research that has been done on a line of cells that have been cultured since 1975 from a kidney of a baby aborted in the Netherlands in 1974. The research that they have done at Iowa has brought millions of dollars to the University of Iowa as well as Iowa State in research grants. The universities wished to be exempt from this bill so their research could continue. The bill was moved out of the subcommittee by a two to one vote, and is now being worked on by the interested parties to come on an agreement.

There were other subcommittees last week on a number of issues, which brought many people to the Iowa Capitol.

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