Nobody knows for certain how many days remain in the 2020 legislative session. But what seems to be clear is that the abortion neutrality amendment is on life support.
The Iowa Standard has been working to verify where each House Republican stands on the bill. First, let’s make sure we know what we’re talking about when we discuss this proposed constitutional amendment.
The proposed constitutional amendment does not prohibit one single abortion from taking place. The proposed constitutional amendment does not remove anyone’s “right” to an abortion. The proposed constitutional amendment does not define life from conception — or heartbeat — for that matter.
The proposed constitutional amendment simply says that nothing in the Iowa Constitution can be construed as providing a fundamental right to an abortion or the public funding of abortion.
All the amendment does is restores the balance of powers and ensures that the legislative branch can do its job — and legislate when it comes to abortion.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but as far as pro-life amendments go, this is as tame as it gets.
That’s not to say it isn’t worth the fight.
To think that if the proposed amendment is to succeed it will come in the eleventh hour of an already delayed legislative session.
I am going to rattle off some uncomfortable facts, so please follow along.
*You know who isn’t holding up this abortion neutrality amendment? Democrats.
With a 53-person majority in the Iowa House, Democrats are powerless to stop this amendment from clearing its first hurdle — if 51 Republicans vote yes.
*You know who else bears some of the blame, pro-life Republicans in House Districts 51, 76, 95 and 96. How can this be?
Simple. House District 51 is represented by Rep. Jane Bloomingdale. House District 76 is represented by Rep. David Maxwell. House District 95 is represented by Rep. Louie Zumbach. House District 96 is represented by Rep. Lee Hein.
All four voted against the Heartbeat bill a couple years ago.
Do you know how many of them faced a primary election due to that anti-life vote?
*And, not to be outdone, remember it was the Republican Party of Iowa that provided more than $285,000 to the five Republicans who ran for re-election in 2018 after voting against the Heartbeat bill. Rep. Andy McKean defected late during the 2019 legislative session and joined the Democrats.
So the Republican Party of Iowa is also partially responsible for where pro-life Iowans find themselves today. Those anti-Heartbeat bill legislators were provided protection after they violated the No. 1 plank in the GOP’s platform.
Quoting from the platform:
“The Right to Life shall be understood to include all people from conception to natural death.”
*Now, there are still 21 Republicans who haven’t responded to The Iowa Standard’s simple question as to whether or not they support the proposed amendment. This is obviously not taking into account the four Heartbeat no votes.
Those Republicans owe it to their constituents, to Iowans and to Republicans across the Hawkeye State to let their position be known.
Not to go all Schoolhouse Rock on anyone, but the legislators actually work for us — not the other way around. In fact, their title “Representative” even gives that away. They are literally there to represent their constituents.
Then, every two years, their constituents are tasked with deciding if they’ve earned the privilege (because it should be counted as a privilege) to continue representing them.
How is it right to ask Iowans to make that decision without this vital information. Remember, we’re not talking about some miniscule, obscure issue.
We are talking about THE No. 1 item in the Republican Party platform.
Is maintaining the House Majority so important to Republicans in the Iowa House that they are willing to betray their pro-life base? Because that’s what is happening here.
I cannot stress enough, this amendment does not stop one single abortion from happening in Iowa. And, after all, it is an amendment. A majority of Iowans will have to vote for it in order for it to go into effect.
So really, a “yes” vote to the amendment isn’t even about the abortoin issue — it’s about whether or not the people of Iowa should have a say in their government.
This seems like a good place to remind people about our supposed “representative” form of government.
There are benefits to having this amendment pass now, in 2020, and again in 2021-2022. Getting this amendment on the 2022 ballot along with the pro-gun amendment will help drive Republican turnout in an off-year election.
If President Donald Trump wins a second term, we know Democrats will be highly motivated to win in 2022. So, how can Republicans combat that Democrat energy? By putting guns and babies on the ballot.
Doing so would undoubtedly help Gov. Kim Reynolds and the U.S. Senate candidate immensely.
Look, Republicans in the Iowa Senate had no problem passing this amendment out of their chamber. There are some senators more pro-life than others. But they banded together and represented the party platform.
Call it “party unity.”
I get that the GOP wants to maintain its House majority badly. I understand they want nothing more than maintaining the power that comes with controlling the House.
But do they really not want to give Iowans a voice on this matter?
Do they really want to ignore the Republican Party platform?
Do they really want to squander this rare trifecta in Iowa politics (which may already be in jeopardy anyway) and not pass this life amendment?
Pro-life Republicans are NOT asking for the moon. They’re literally not even asking that Republicans vote to stop one single abortion from happening.
All their asking for is a chance to make their voice heard. A chance to have their representative government allow them to be represented.
I cannot say for sure who the holdouts are on the life amendment. I can speculate. But at this point, there are 24 Republican members of the Iowa House I have not yet heard from.
I don’t know their faith background. I don’t know their life story.
But I do know this.
In Luke 12 we are warned:
“But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”
Our elected officials in the Iowa House have been given much. They’ve been entrusted with much.
More than 60 million unborn babies have already been killed by abortion in the United States. It is legal in this state for a living child to be killed in the name of choice.
Pro-life Republicans are not asking legislators to stop one single abortion from taking place. They’re simply asking for an opportunity to be given a voice.
It is those same pro-life Republicans, after all, who the GOP should thank for putting them in control of the Iowa House.
This is a pretty moderate abortion bill in reality. It is nobody’s end goal.
Yet, for some reason, it is an uphill climb for a Republican-controlled Iowa House.
In a state of more than 3 million people, 53 are in control of the Iowa House. Fifty-three.
My question to them is, what are you going to do with that control?
Are you going to accomplish something to address the No. 1 platform plank, or are you going to sacrifice moving the ball forward on that plank item in hopes of protecting the caucus and preserving the majority?
Because if that same “majority” can’t even advance this moderate abortion neutrality amendment, then what good is being in the majority? Really, if we can’t get life right at the beginning, what makes us think we’ll get it right at any point after that?
Now isn’t the time to provide protection for pro-choice Republicans.
Now is the time to lead. The time to be bold.
Now is the time to prove why you’ve earned the pro-life vote for all these years.
Stop taking advantage of pro-life Republicans and start producing results.
I’m not even asking that Republicans pass the abortion neutrality amendment. Simply put it up for a vote.
Let pro-life Iowans know who their true allies are. That way they can be represented better in this representative form of government.
Here are the 22 (updated from 24) Republicans we have not yet heard from:
Rep. Louie Zumbach – voted against the Heartbeat bill – firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Dave Maxwell – voted against the Heartbeat bill – email@example.com
Rep. Lee Hein – voted against the Heartbeat bill – firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Jane Bloomingdale – voted against the Heartbeat bill – email@example.com
Rep. Gary Worthan – firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Matt Windschitl – email@example.com
Rep. Linda Upmeyer – firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Ray Sorensen – email@example.com
Rep. David Sieck – firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Norlin Mommsen – email@example.com
Rep. Gary Mohr – firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Ann Meyer – email@example.com
Rep. David Kerr – firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Bobby Kaufmann – email@example.com
Rep. Dan Huseman – firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Ashley Hinson – email@example.com
Rep. Mary Ann Hanusa – firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Pat Grassley – email@example.com
Rep. Joel Fry – firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Dave Deyoe – email@example.com
Rep. Gary Carlson – firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Jacob Bossman – email@example.com