An Iowa House committee advanced a pro-life constitutional amendment Wednesday to prevent unlimited, late-term and taxpayer-funded abortions from becoming legal in the state.
The Courier reports the Protect Life Amendment (House Bill 41) passed the state House Judiciary Committee in a 12-7 party-line vote.
State Rep. Steve Holt, R-Denison, who chairs the committee, said the Iowa Supreme Court wrongly found a so-called “right to abortion” in the state constitution in 2018. He warned that their ruling could lead to legalizing late-term abortions and forcing Iowa taxpayers to fund abortions, according to the report.
Democrat lawmaker state Rep. Christina Bohannan, D-Iowa City, responded that the amendment would make it so Iowa could “ban abortion altogether” if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, according to the report.
She also accused Hold of making a “disingenuous argument used to stir up fear and confusion.”
But Holt is correct. For years, Tennessee and West Virginia were prevented from enacting even minor, common-sense abortion regulations because of activist judicial rulings. In 2018, West Virginia voters passed a pro-life state constitutional amendment after decades of being forced by a court ruling to fund elective abortions with their tax dollars. Tennessee voters approved a similar amendment in 2014.
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Holt said “radical courts” have stripped voters of their power to protect unborn babies and prevent their tax dollars from funding their deaths, and Iowans do not want that to happen in their state, the report states.
Also on Wednesday, Iowa Senate leaders introduced a companion bill, Senate Joint Resolution 2, to pass the pro-life constitutional amendment, the report states.
“Regrettably, five un-elected judges, with the stroke of a pen, fabricated a constitutional right to an abortion under Iowa’s Constitution,” Chapman said. “This egregious usurpation of power will not be left unchecked.”
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.
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.”
Kansas lawmakers are considering a similar state constitutional amendment this winter.
ACTION ALERT: Contact Iowa lawmakers to urge support for the amendment.