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Pastors and people of faith across Iowa have created a groundswell under the feet of Rep. Steven Holt, who continues to refuse to move HF2256 to subcommittee. Letters, emails, conversations, and social media have been used to plead with Rep Holt to move forward Iowa’s first bill that cleanly provides equal protection under the law for the unborn from the moment of conception.
Behind the scenes, things appear even more interesting and littered with the political tactics that increase Iowans’ frustration. Yesterday, Rep Steve Holt posted on his Facebook account that he has made the decision to not move ANY legislation on abortion forward this session. He notes he is in favor of waiting to see how the Iowa Supreme Court rules on the Heartbeat Bill in the months to come. He was seemingly replying to the flurry of advocates for HF2256 which was introduced by 6 representatives with registered supporters including Iowa Right to Life, Faith & Freedom Coalition, Iowa Catholic Conference, Pulse Life Advocates, etc.
But while Holt was telling Iowans and his constituents one thing, he was doing another. He quickly moved his own bill, HSB621, to subcommittee and now to the full Judiciary Committee today. In effect, Holt has stalled HF2256 which stands for all life, told Iowans he won’t move anything, but has moved his bill about non-consensual abortion, which only increases penalties on a person that causes a pregnant woman to abort a baby without her consent. What’s more is that HF2256 also includes a provision to hold individuals accountable that coerce a pregnant woman to have an abortion. Holt has seemingly chosen to focus on the needle in the haystack instead of moving HF2256 which expands abortion protection to all life from conception.
Whether Holt is simply attempting to give himself cover to say he tried something remains to be seen. He has had the opportunity to stand up for all life with a clear message through HF2256. Instead, the tinkering of tactical politics at the statehouse seems to be alive and flourishing.
Meanwhile, yesterday The Iowa Standard reported via their Facebook page that Rep. Brian Lohse, also a member of the Judiciary Committee, believes life begins at 11-12 days, a purely arbitrary position.
Multiple lobbyists behind the scenes continue to echo that House Speaker Pat Grassley has “given the orders” that no legislation should move on abortion at this time. We can expect that even if Holt’s bill HSB621 makes it through the Judiciary Committee, Grassley may very well let it die.  Most believe that the Iowa Supreme Court will strike down the fetal heartbeat bill, which only protects some life (beyond about 8 to 10 weeks old). In addition, some are suggesting that when and if the court does strike down the fetal heartbeat bill Iowans will then go after the judges and vote them out. That strategy has been tried before. Iowans surely are not that naïve. Meanwhile, Iowa’s representatives have a bill on Rep Holt’s desk that would protect all life.
With all these continued political games, perhaps Iowans need to consider voting out their Republican Judiciary Committee representatives instead of waiting to be disappointed, upset, and then rallying to vote out judges.
HF2256 takes the fight to a different playing field. Instead of doing battle with the pro-choice establishment’s definitions and positions, HF2256 goes to the source and simply defines a person as beginning at fertilization. By doing so, all protections under the law are afforded to the baby.
– Cameron Sharp


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