Iowa House lawmakers are moving forward with a state constitutional amendment that would make it clear there is no right to abort an unborn baby.
The Sioux City Journal reports the Iowa House Judiciary Subcommittee voted 2-1 in favor of the amendment Tuesday, advancing it to the full House Judiciary Committee for consideration.
House Study Bill 577 would add language to the Iowa Constitution stating that it “shall not be construed to recognize, grant or secure a right to abortion or to require the public funding of abortion.”
Such amendments are important because the abortion industry often turns to the courts to overturn pro-life laws. Some judges, including the Iowa Supreme Court in 2018, have found a so-called “right to abortion” in their state constitutions, and these decisions have been used to force taxpayers to fund abortions and restrict state legislatures from passing even minor, common sense abortion restrictions.
Earlier this year, Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds, the first female governor of Iowa, voiced her support for the pro-life constitutional amendment during her State of the State address.
To amend the constitution, an amendment must pass both state houses and then be approved by voters. Lawmakers hope to have the amendment approved for the 2022 ballot.
The state Senate is considering a similar amendment, Senate Joint Resolution 21. The Senate version also would amend the Iowa Constitution to ensure there is no right to abortion or taxpayer-funded abortions in the state.
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State Sen. Jake Chapman, R-Adel, said the Iowa Supreme Court ruling, which struck down a 72-hour waiting period, “invented a fundamental right to an abortion” and “usurped” the voter-elected legislature, according to Caffeinated Thoughts.
“Any plain reading of our state constitution reveals no such right,” Chapman said during a Senate hearing in January. “For over 160 years of our state’s history, no one has ever suggested that somewhere in the constitution, there was this right. In effect, the Iowa Supreme Court amended Iowa’s constitution. They overstepped their authority in that decision.”
He said the constitutional amendment would correct the “overreach” of unelected judges and restore the power to restrict abortions to the people of Iowa.
However, abortion activists with Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union and other pro-abortion groups already are lobbying against the amendment.
Kansas and Kentucky also are considering pro-life amendments to their state constitutions this year. Louisiana voters will have a similar opportunity to add a pro-life amendment to their constitution in November.
In 2018, West Virginia voters passed a similar state constitutional amendment after decades of being forced by a court ruling to fund elective abortions with taxpayer dollars. The amendment will make it easier for state lawmakers to pass pro-life laws in the future.
ACTION ALERT: Contact Iowa lawmakers.