Republican State Representative Steve Holt managed the Life Amendment through the Iowa House on Wednesday night. The bill passed 55-44.
Holt acknowledged that the amendment will not prevent or prohibit one single abortion from taking place in Iowa, but he said it is necessary due to an activist decision by the Iowa Supreme Court a couple of years ago that found a fundamental right to abortion in the Iowa Constitution.
“I don’t know why we would fear the people’s decision in this regard,” Holt said, noting that the amendment must pass two general assemblies and then a vote of the people before it would be ratified.
He responded to some of the Democrat talking points at the beginning of his closing remarks.
“I am pro-life and I make no apology for it,” he said. “When I think about abortion, I think about two hearts and two souls.”
Holt said he’d like to say he expects the amendment could get Iowa to a point where the Heartbeat bill would be upheld, but he has no such expectation.
“My hope is that the amendment, if passed by the people, would protect the reasonable restrictions we have on the books such as our 20-week ban on abortion or the ban on taxpayer-funded abortion,” he said. “And those things are in jeopardy.”
He questioned why the opposition never mentions the constitutional rights of the unborn.
He took great issue with Democrat Rep. Beth Wessel-Kroeschell saying day-of-birth abortions do not happen and are not a thing.
“Representative Wessel-Kroeschell, let’s talk a little bit about being misled,” he said. “Let’s talk a little bit about truth over lies. Who is fooling whom when seven states — and maybe it’s nine now — but at least seven states, Alabama, Colorado, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon and Vermont now allow abortion at any time for any reason, even up to the day of a baby’s birth.
“Who is fooling whom? People on the floor tonight kept saying that’s not a thing, that’s not real, that’s not going to happen. Seven states currently allow abortion up until a baby’s birth. And let’s face it, folks, the only difference between a child born and unborn at nine months is location.”
Holt said there are 14 states with taxpayer funding of elective abortions. The Democrat Party’s national platform calls for taxpayer funding of abortion.
Holt stressed that abortion laws in Iowa should be up to Iowans, not five unelected Supreme Court judges.
If the federal court would ever return the issue of abortion to the states, Holt asked if Democrats would rather unelected judges decide what the law is or if they’d rather allow the people to have a voice by leaving it with their elected representatives.
The ruling of a couple of years ago challenges the function of government as well as the process of amending the Iowa Constitution, Holt said. If the Supreme Court has the final say on what should be added to the constitution and bases their rulings on the prevailing culture of the time, then Holt said lawmakers should take their pens and papers home because they are “irrelevant.”
The amendment must pass the Iowa Senate and then it will have to go through both the House and Senate again during the next general assembly. If that happens, voters can expect to see it on the ballot in Iowa in 2024.