Pro-Life Legislation

Thankfully as of May 20, 2021, the Life Amendment made its way through the political process and passed both the House and Senate! Even though there were differences in wording between the houses, Representative Steve Holt explained that the compromise sought to make the language simple and concise. Our pro-life legislators worked hard and were passionate about the job before them. While abortion is an issue raised by the amendment it also deals with a broader issue of the courts making up the law. Sen. Julian Garrett, R-Indianola stated, "You can read the Iowa Constitution over and over and over again, and you'll never see anything about abortion."

Pro-Life Related Cases

Life Amendment

Life. “To defend the dignity of all human life and protect unborn children from efforts to expand abortion even to the point of birth, we the people of the State of Iowa declare that this Constitution does not recognize, grant, or secure a right to abortion or require the public funding of abortion.”

This amendment would make our Constitution abortion-neutral; it neither would support or outlaw a person’s right to an abortion.

Why is this amendment needed?

In Planned Parenthood v. Reynolds (2018), the state Supreme Court declared Iowa’s constitution includes a “fundamental right to abortion.” The court’s decision is even more radical than Roe v. Wade, opening the door to abortion in Iowa at any time, for any reason, right up to birth. Just like our neighbors in Illinois. The recent decision by the Iowa Supreme Court means that every pro-life law ever passed or that could be passed in Iowa will now likely be declared unconstitutional.
The only way to undo what these judges did is to pass a constitutional amendment. The people of Iowa, not unelected judges, should decide how Iowa regulates abortion.
In June 2019, Illinois passed legislation that made it the most pro-abortion state in the country. They made abortion legal up to birth, legalized partial-birth abortion, legalized abortions done by non-doctors, now allow babies born alive after a botched abortion to die on the table, and will make the taxpayers pay for it all. Then on the 46th Anniversary of the Roe v Wade court decision, New York signed a new law – The Reproductive Health Act. This law removed the requirement that abortions be performed by physicians and allows abortions right up to the moment of birth. The only thing stopping Iowa from becoming Illinois and New York is the #ProtectLifeAmendment. To be enacted, the amendment must pass both chambers of the Legislature in the same form in two different sessions. Then the amendment goes to a vote of the people for approval. Similar amendments have been passed by the people of Tennessee, Alabama, Rhode Island, and West Virginia. This amendment would make our Constitution abortion-neutral; it neither would support or outlaw a person’s right to an abortion.

Source: Iowans For Life

Current Abortion Laws on the books in Iowa

(all of these are threatened!)

  • The parent of a minor must be notified before an abortion is provided.
  • Public funding is available for abortion only in cases of life endangerment, rape, incest or fetal anomaly. The governor must approve each Medicaid-funded abortion.
  • A woman must undergo an ultrasound before obtaining an abortion; the provider must offer her the option to view the image.
  • No abortions after 20-weeks (passed in 2017)
  • 2017-The Family Medical Waiver Program excluded the abortion industry and redirected that money to quality community health care centers across the state that provide real health care to women and families.
  • 2019 Session, the Department of Health & Human Services bill states that abortion providers are NOT qualified to receive state money to teach our youth sex education. PP has filed a lawsuit, an injunction was granted and a trial is expected yet this summer.
  • 2019 Judicial Reform- A modified version of this passed which gives Gov. Reynolds one additional non-attorney on the nominating committee. This puts her at 9 and the bar association at 8. Chief Justice only serves for 2 years and then has to be re-elected as a chief justice. And, the most senior justice is not automatically the chairman of the nominating committee.

The Terrible Consequences of the June 29 Supreme Court Ruling

In one stroke of the pen, unelected judges flipped Iowa from the most pro-life state to among the least.

In June 2018, in a decision on the 72-Hour waiting period on abortions, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that the Iowa Constitution contains a “fundamental right” to abortion. This means that almost no existing or future regulation of abortion can survive a court challenge in Iowa.

This ruling is the most significant event in the history of Iowa’s pro-life battle.

It Dwarfs any Previous Setback.

It Vetoes Every Achievement:

  • Concocted a fundamental right to abortion.
  • Caused the reversal of Iowa’s Heartbeat Law.

It Exposes to Reversal:

  • The remaining ban on 20-week abortions.
  • The defunding of Planned Parenthood.
  • Every other pro-life law or regulation currently on the books, & any yet to come.

This is the most important assault on Iowa’s democratic republic in our history. This is of serious concern to both liberals and conservatives. The authority of the Court does not extend to amending the Iowa Constitution.

The Constitution provides for only two methods of its own amendment, and both are accomplished only through the actions of the People, not the court. In its 160 years, the current Iowa Constitution has been amended on 27 different occasions (as recently as 2010) and in 48 ways. The court’s ruling has usurped the authority of all Iowans as the only authors of their Constitution. Liberals may not agree with conservatives on issues of the day. But both should cherish and defend our principles of self-governance. When the court usurped the authority of all Iowans, it robbed Republicans and Democrats alike.

The Solution

The Iowa court imagined a right to abortion in the Iowa Constitution where the people had never intended it. The same legislature that passed our current Constitution promptly also banned abortion except to save the life of the mother. There is no credible argument that they intended a right to abortion in the state Constitution.

The People of Iowa must reassert the same authority by which they drafted and passed the Iowa Constitution.

Amend the Iowa Constitution to affirm there is
no right to abortion contained in it.

Even moderates could agree because this amendment would not prohibit abortion. It would merely restore the issue to the People (liberals and conservatives alike) to debate among themselves and pass laws on the issue.

Several states are in the process of passing similar amendments, and Tennessee and West Virginia have successfully done it. We can pass an amendment in Iowa, too, but there is almost nothing else pro-lifers CAN do until this step is done.

We know that little child, kicking in her mother’s womb, she’s a baby. But even if everyone in Iowa agreed with us, we could do almost nothing to protect her until we amend the Iowa Supreme Court’s outrageous decision from June 2018.

We need this amendment. That baby in the womb? She needs this amendment. And we all need YOU to get your pro-life friends and family on board with passing a constitutional amendment that says to the Court, “No! There IS NO RIGHT to abortion in We the People’s Constitution!”