There is a lot of buzz in the state politically about tomorrow’s special legislative session aimed at addressing the issue of protecting human life. The discussion seems to be centered around protecting unborn children once a heartbeat is detected.
It will attempt to be as similar to possible it seems as the Heartbeat Bill that passed in 2018. That is despite the fact there are more Republicans today in the Iowa House and the Iowa Senate than there were then. And despite the fact we now have an all-Republican appointed Iowa Supreme Court still with a Republican governor.
So, I am a little puzzled why whatever legislators do this week will not be any better than what they did in 2018.
I’ve seen a lot of contradictions from Republicans in the last week or so. Republican Party of Iowa co-chair Linda Upmeyer said:
“Our laws should reflect that we cherish every life.”
This bill doesn’t do that.
A Republican State Representative said:
“Simple but powerful truth: Life begins at conception.”
This bill doesn’t reflect that.
Another Republican called the exceptions in the bill, which include an exception for cases of rape, “common sense.”
So, essentially, it is “common sense” that babies conceived in rape do not have a right to life or that their life should be cherished.
I don’t necessarily trust doctors willing to kill unborn babies to find a detectable heartbeat. Or not to simply ask the mother when she was raped. Or these doctors willing to kill unborn babies to not simply say the baby must be killed out of concern for the health of the mother.
We are told by our Republican leadership the votes aren’t there for anything better than this version of the Heartbeat Bill. But there is no way to know that. And this is definitely one of those instances where we should heed Ronald Reagan’s advice and trust, but verify.
One way to verify is to have one legislator introduce amendments to the bill that will make it better. Aim for Life at Conception, settle at Heartbeat if you have to. Aim for defining some of these “exceptions.” Aim for actual penalties for violating the law.
Incrementalism is fine, I guess, as long as it is the last resort. I mean, you don’t see football teams settling for field goals until they have to on fourth down. Let’s take a couple shots at the end zone before we settle for a field goal.
I struggle with the idea that pro-life Iowans will ever be in a better position to pass a law protecting all unborn children than they are today. There are 64 Republicans in the House, and 36 Democrats. There are 34 Republicans in the Senate, and 16 Democrats. We have an all-Republican-appointed Supreme Court. We have a Republican Governor.
If we can’t do it now, I struggle with the idea we will ever do it. I hope I’m wrong. I don’t think it is unreasonable to expect more than what is being delivered here. Especially if we do believe it is truth that life begins at conception, that every life must be cherished and all life must be protected.