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With the news from earlier this week that Roe v. Wade’s days as binding legal precedent may be numbered, reaction has been swift from all sides. But what is getting lost in the mix here in Iowa is the fact that, due to Iowa House Republicans, there could be two years that pass between the time Roe is undone and unborn babies are afforded protection in the Hawkeye State.

In 2020, the Iowa Senate passed an abortion neutrality amendment, but it died in the Iowa House where Republican leadership claimed they did not have the votes. Leadership did not bring the proposed amendment to the floor for a vote, they simply let it die by not having a vote on it at all.

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Legislators believe that in order to pass pro-life legislation that will withstand legal challenges in Iowa, a constitutional amendment is necessary after an Iowa Supreme Court decision on a 72-hour waiting period case resulted in the court declaring a fundamental constitutional right to an abortion somewhere in the Iowa Constitution.

So pro-life lawmakers began working on a solution and in 2020 the Senate moved the amendment to the House.

But despite having a Republican majority, the Iowa House Republicans couldn’t muster enough support to pass the measure.

One fact to keep in mind when it comes to the legislature voting on proposed constitutional amendments in Iowa — the amendments will not be inserted into the Iowa Constitution unless the people of Iowa vote for them. This means when legislators vote against a proposed constitutional amendment, they’re actually voting to keep Iowans from having a say on the issue when it comes to their constitution.

Another interesting fact, the Protect Life Amendment will not actually stop a single abortion from happening in Iowa. It will simply correct an error by the court.

Despite both of those facts, Iowa House Republicans failed to pass the amendment. Had they passed that amendment in 2020, and done it again this General Assembly (which they did), then Iowans would have their voices heard on the issue this fall in the general election.

But House Republicans didn’t. No, in fact, House Republicans provided cover for the anti-life legislators within their ranks. And yes, legislators who voted against the Protect Life Amendment should be considered anti-life legislators.

In 2021, it became obvious who some of those Republican no votes were in 2020 when the House Republicans did have enough of a majority (thanks to President Donald J. Trump’s coattails in the 2020 election) to pass the amendment.

There are three Iowa House Republicans currently serving who are solely responsible for potentially thousands of abortions that could happen in Iowa between the time Roe is undone and the constitutional amendment becomes enshrined in the Constitution.

They are Representatives Jane Bloomingdale, Lee Hein and Dave Maxwell.

The good news? All three are in primaries this June.

But the blame runs deeper than that — or at least it should. Iowa House Republican leadership allowed that amendment to die in 2020 without requiring a vote on it. This provided cover for these anti-life Republican legislators.

It’s just like when the same group voted against the Heartbeat Bil and then received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Republican Party of Iowa through the House Majority Fund to win re-election.

Why do Iowa House Republicans keep having such a hard time passing conservative legislation? Because they keep providing cover for and financial support for Iowa House Republicans who actively oppose the conservative agenda.

It is circular. And it repeats.

Based on conversations I’ve had, Bloomingdale, Hein and Maxwell are also opposed to Education Savings Accounts. All three were contacted by The Iowa Standard asking if they support the measure and none of them responded. Maxwell has been public about his opposition. Bloomingdale reportedly told a constituent she is opposed.

It is estimated there are 4,000 abortions in Iowa every year. If Roe is undone this summer, it will be more than two years before Iowa legislators likely do anything meaningful to protect innocent unborn babies because they’re waiting on the constitutional amendment.

And it will all be because of Iowa House Republican inaction on the issue in 2020.

Author: Jacob Hall

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