I proudly voted for SJR 21, the Protect Life Amendment, which passed out of Senate State Government. SJR 21 is a joint resolution that would make the subject of abortion neutral in the Iowa Constitution. This change to Iowa’s Constitution does not prevent abortions. Rather, what this amendment does do is add new language to the Iowa Constitution stating it does not secure or protect a right to an abortion or require public funding for an abortion.
In a ruling on the 72-hour waiting period law, the Iowa Supreme Court invented a constitutional right to an abortion and subjected it to strict scrutiny, a higher level of judicial protection than the undue burden standard from Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. This is another in a long line of activist decisions by courts across the country which have invented rights not found in the U.S. or state constitutions. If the Iowa Constitution is going to be amended, it should happen through the process established by Iowa’s founders in Article X and not by judicial fiat.
The process to amend the Iowa Constitution is for the legislature to pass the exact same proposed constitutional language in two consecutive General Assemblies. Following those votes, the citizens of Iowa would then decide to support or oppose the amendment.
Governor Reynolds urged us to act on this amendment during her Condition of the State address. Senate Republicans have passed some of the most significant pro-life legislation in our three years in the majority. Since 2017, we have passed the ‘Heartbeat Bill,’ recognizing life at the sound of a heartbeat, and also bills on a 20-week abortion ban, a 72-hour waiting period, and removing state money from any clinic in Iowa that provides abortions. Protecting life will always be my top priority in the Iowa Senate.