Pro-life Iowans are advocating a state constitutional amendment that would protect mothers and unborn children from efforts to expand abortion – even up to the day of a baby’s birth! – by clarifying that Iowa’s Constitution contains no “right to abortion” and nothing that requires Iowa taxpayers to fund abortion.
The amendment effort follows a controversial June 2018 decision by the Iowa State Supreme Court that declared abortion a nearly unrestricted, “fundamental right” under the Iowa Constitution.
“Of course, no such right can be found in the Iowa Constitution itself,” said Drew Zahn, director of communications for The FAMiLY LEADER, a charter member of the Iowa Coalition of Pro-Life Leaders. “The Iowa State Supreme Court virtually admitted as much when it claimed it was ‘freed … from the private views of the Constitution’s founders’ to concoct a brand-new right based on ‘current prevailing [and] evolving standards’ instead.”
The Supreme Court’s ruling was key to persuading a Polk County judge to overturn Iowa’s Heartbeat Law, and ultimately, the ruling could be used to overturn every abortion restriction ever passed in the state – effectively making Iowa “the next New York” when it comes to wide-open, legal abortion right up to birth.
“Without this amendment, Iowa’s Supreme Court has already shown that it’s willing to just make up rulings on abortion and call them constitutional. That’s wrong,” explained Chuck Hurley, vice president and chief legal counsel for The FAMiLY LEADER. “Judges shouldn’t be making up laws on abortion. Whether Iowa is going to be pro-life or the next New York should be up to We the People, not unelected judges.”
Should the amendment pass through both Iowa House and Senate in 2019, it would have to be passed again by the newly elected Legislature after the 2020 election. Only then would it be brought before a vote of the people for ratification. The amendment does not require the signature of Iowa’s governor.
To be clear, the Protect Life Amendment would not immediately change abortion laws or restrictions in Iowa. But the amendment would serve as a “We the People” check and balance against the State Supreme Court’s attempts to erase abortion laws by judicial fiat.
In recent years, the people of Tennessee, West Virginia, and Alabama have added similar amendments to their state constitutions, while Louisiana and Kansas are currently considering them, and Rhode Island ratified a similar amendment decades ago.