If it feels like we’ve been here before, it’s because we have.
On Feb. 13, 2020, the Iowa Senate passed a proposed constitutional amendment to Iowa’s Constitution.
The Iowa House never passed the amendment, or its own version. Instead, due to the opposition from a few Republican legislators in the House, the amendment died.
Fast forward to 2021. The Iowa House passed the abortion neutrality amendment in late January. However, they did not put a title on the amendment. And, the Iowa Senate preferred additional language in the amendment.
So on Tuesday, the Iowa Senate adopted the House version and then amended it.
Here is what the House version said, without a title: (I’ll bold what’s different.)
“To defend and protect unborn children, 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.”
Here is what the amended version from the Senate says:
“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 the State of Iowa declare that this Constitution shall not be construed to recognize, grant or secure a right to abortion or to require the public funding of abortion.”
For what it is worth, the Senate’s amended version this year mirrors the language they used last year. So while it appears they changed the House’s language, they simply kept the language they passed a year ago.
Due to the amendment, the House will have to revisit the issue. And that may be a problem.
Republican Rep. Steve Holt, who managed the bill through the House earlier this session, said after a year of hard work, the House passed the Life Amendment in Week 3 of the legislative session and sent it to the Senate.
“(Tuesday), in Week 13, the Senate chose to change the language we sent them and send it back to the House,” Holt wrote. “The Senate waited 10 weeks to decide to change this language. The fate of the Life Amendment is now uncertain at best.”
The House killed the abortion neutrality amendment last year. Three House Republicans — Dave Maxwell, Lee Hein and Jane Bloomingdale — voted against it earlier this year.
Now it appears the abortion neutrality amendment is again facing an uphill battle in the House.