Iowa House lawmakers took the first step Tuesday toward passing a constitutional amendment that would prevent unlimited, taxpayer-funded late-term abortions from becoming legal in their state.
KCCI News 8 reports pro-life leaders praised a House subcommittee for making the Protect Life Amendment (HSB 41) a priority after it passed in a 2-1 vote.
Iowans for Life executive director Maggie DeWitte said without the amendment, Iowa will not have any protections for women and children from abortion – “even up to the point of birth.”
“This is an amendment that should have bipartisan support; regardless of your party affiliation, no legislator would be in favor of the judicial branch taking away what we elected you to do – create law,” she said. “It’s time to take back the rights of the legislature and the rights of ‘We the People,’ by passing this amendment.”
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.
State Rep. Anne Osmundson, a Republican who serves on the subcommittee, said the amendment would restore Iowans’ freedom to make their own decisions about protecting women and unborn babies.
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“I think the most basic freedom is life. Actually, this bill is not necessarily about life,” Osmundson said. “To me, it’s more about the judges overstepping their bounds, taking away the freedom of Iowans. I think we need to put it back into the hands of Iowans. As we see here today, there’s a majority of Iowans who don’t want to pay for other peoples’ abortions.”
But state Rep. Beth Wessel-Kroeschell, a Democrat on the subcommittee, attacked the amendment, calling it “dangerous to a woman’s health” and a “loss of freedom for women,” according to the report.
Radio Iowa reports several Iowa pro-lifers testified in favor of the amendment on Tuesday, including Kim Laube, director of life ministries for Lutheran Family Service.
“An inappropriate ruling by judicial activists intentionally tied legislators’ hands, rendering it virtually impossible in the absence of a constitutional amendment to legislatively impose any reasonable restriction on abortion,” Laube said.
The Protect Life Amendment would add the following language to the Iowa Constitution: “To defend the dignity of all human life, and to protect mothers and unborn children from efforts to expand abortion even to the day of birth, we the people of Iowa declare: Nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to recognize, grant, or secure a right to abortion or require the public funding of it.”
To be added to the Iowa Constitution, the amendment must pass the state legislature both this year and next year and then be approved by voters on the ballot.
DeWitte said Iowans support abortion restrictions that protect mothers and unborn babies.
“I believe the people of Iowa and NOT unelected judges of the State Supreme Court should decide how Iowa regulates abortion,” she said. “These radical judges took the rights away from ALL Iowans and thereby preventing common-sense protections for women and children.”
ACTION: Contact Iowa lawmakers to support the Amendment.