Iowans For LIFE hosted its ninth annual fundraising event on Thursday night in Altoona. The event was held at The Meadows Bishop Ballroom at Prairie Meadows. Maggie DeWitte, director of Iowans for LIFE addressed the legislative angle of the life issue in Iowa.
“Iowans for LIFE exists to change the culture,” she said. “We do it through education, advocacy and most importantly through prayer. We exist so young women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy would never consider abortion.”
The group uses the Respect Life Curriculum. DeWitte encourages Catholic schools to use the curriculum. The group also makes a trip to the March For Life event in Washington D.C. every year. It also spends time at the Iowa State Fair every year. It advocates at the Capitol. It speaks to groups across the state about the life issue. And it has a statewide billboard campaign in response to Planned Parenthood’s billboard campaign. She also talked about the group’s presence on social media.
“Where increasingly our young people are getting their news and information,” she said. “We have to be the beacon of light and source of truth for them to learn and grow.”
Iowans for LIFE works behind the scenes she said for the life issue.
“When I think things couldn’t get any worse, I think about what our state would be like if IFL wasn’t here,” she said. “If we weren’t here constantly behind the scenes nudging, prodding, pushing, and if I’m being totally honest, sometimes shoving — but the shoving is done of course with nothing but love — but if we don’t do it, who will? The bottom line is you need Iowans For LIFE and Iowans for LIFE needs you.”
DeWitte said Iowa is in a fight for its life, literally. She referenced the 2018 case of Planned Parenthood vs. Reynolds in which the state supreme court declared the Iowa Constitution included a fundamental right to abortion.
“Un-elected judges created law in the Iowa Constitution that does not exist,” she said. “A fundamental right to an abortion. The court’s decision is even more radical than Roe vs. Wade, opening the door to abortion on demand at any time, for any reason, right up to birth.”
She said every pro-life passed in Iowa, past , present or future, will now be ruled unconstitutional because of the court’s decision.
“The only way to undo what these judges did is to pass a constitutional amendment,” DeWitte said.
DeWitte highlighted recent legislation passed in Illinois that made it the most “pro-abortion state in the country.”
That legislation legalized abortion up to birth, partial-birth abortion, abortion done by non-doctors and allowed babies born alive after a botched abortion to die on the table.
“And of course, they made the taxpayers pay for it all,” DeWitte said.
She mentioned New York’s Reproductive Health Act, which passed on the 46th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade.
“They removed the need for doctors to perform abortions and allow abortions right up to birth,” DeWitte said. “And New Yorkers celebrated this atrocity by lighting up the World Trade Center in pink.
“The only thing stopping Iowa from becoming Illinois and New York is this Life amendment.”
A constitutional amendment in Iowa is required to be passed by both chambers in the Legislature in the same form in two consecutive sessions. It then goes to a vote of the people of Iowa.
“To say this is an uphill battle is an understatement,” DeWitte said. “This is a campaign of epic proportions, and it’s one we really can’t afford to lose. Because of this ruling by unelected, activist judges legislating from the bench, our heartbeat bill that we worked so hard to pass, was ruled unconstitutional. While we still have the 20-week abortion ban, it’s only a matter of time before Planned Parenthood and the ACLU file a lawsuit. And if we have a fundamental right to abortion, we can’t limit abortion in any way. And likely that could get struck down as well.”
DeWitte said she’s confident Roe vs. Wade will get overturned one day. And when that day comes, the abortion issue will be kicked back to the states.
“If we don’t undo what they did, Iowa could become the abortion mecca of the country,” she said. “This is not blowing anything out of proportion or being over-dramatic, it really is the reality of the situation. And it is hard to stomach.”
While the ruling was disappointing and the push for a Life amendment seems tough, DeWitte said Iowans For LIFE has had its resolve furthered, its determination heightened and emboldened the group to keep pushing no matter what.
“We won’t accept defeat,” she said. “There’s too much at stake.”
She told the story about Corrie Ten Boom in answering how Iowans For LIFE will accomplish its goal. Ten Boom, along with her family, helped many Jews escape the Nazi holocaust during World War II.
“They were eventually caught and sent to a concentration camp,” DeWitte said. “Her sister died there. Corrie was released and later found out she was released due to a clerical error, and all of the women in her camp were sent to the gas chamber.
“She says this, ‘If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. But if you look at Christ, you’ll be at rest.’ Be at rest my friends, and join us in Christ’s name, amen.”