Iowa lawmakers moved forward with a state constitutional amendment Wednesday to make it clear that there is no right to abort unborn babies.
A state Senate subcommittee passed the Life Amendment, Senate Joint Resolution 9, after listening to a crowd of pro-life and abortion activists testify about the measure, The Courier reports.
The resolution would add the following language to the Iowa Constitution: “The constitution does not secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.”
The language, similar to a constitutional amendment approved by West Virginia voters in 2018, would prevent the abortion industry and activist judges from trying to force state taxpayers to fund abortions through the court system.
Martin Cannon, a lawyer for the Thomas More Society, explained that the amendment does not outlaw abortions, WHO TV 13 reports.
“Unlike a Supreme Court ruling that largely takes the matter out of the hands of the people, this amendment does not say that abortion shall be allowed in Iowa or shall not be allowed in Iowa,” Cannon said. “It simply says that that question is not going to be answered and crammed down one side’s throat or the other by this constitution,”
Here’s more from the local news:
Those who support the amendment say they introduced it out of necessity following the Iowa Supreme Court’s ruling that the 72-hour waiting period was unconstitutional last year. …
The Executive Director of the Iowa Right to Life Committee Caitlyn Dixson said she supports the proposed amendment because of a very personal experience.
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“I found myself at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Omaha getting my pre-abortion ultrasound in which I was shown the top of my sons head and knew in that moment that I wasn’t going to be able to complete it,” Dixson said.
Opponents said the amendment would ensure that abortion rights would not be protected and this would open the door for laws banning or severely restricting abortion.
“Historically the Iowa Constitution has only changed to confer additional rights, not take them away. The Republican war on women continues here in Iowa,” Iowa State Senator Claire Celsi, D-West Des Moines, said.
But the so-called “right” to abortion by its very nature strips away the right to life from unborn babies.
Dixson told legislators that the Life Amendment simply gives power back to the people through voter-elected lawmakers, the Des Moines Register reports.
“It is a bill that gives the power of lawmaking back to the people of Iowa through their elected representatives in the Legislature, instead of in the hands of unelected activist judges” she said.
Planned Parenthood activists attacked the resolution Wednesday, claiming it is an agenda-driven measure that would restrict access to abortion.
“We’ve spent the last two years debating policies that restrict access to safe, legal abortion, and ultimately, the courts have ruled that most of these bills do not withstand the protections of the Iowa Constitution,” said local Planned Parenthood spokesperson Jamie Burch Elliott. “It is shocking.”
If the resolution passes the state legislature, it would be placed on the ballot where voters also must approve it before it can be added to the Iowa Constitution.
Gov. Kim Reynolds recently said she supports the amendment.