Anti-Abortion Amendment For Iowa Constitution Clears 1st Review In 2020 Legislature

Des Moines, Iowa — (RI) — Republican lawmakers are proposing an amendment to the Iowa Constitution, in response to Iowa court rulings that struck down abortion restrictions.

Republican Representative Steven Holt of Denison gave a loud Marine Corps “hoorah” on Tuesday when Governor Kim Reynolds mentioned it in her Condition of the State message.

A subcommittee in the Iowa Senate gave its approval Thursday to a proposed amendment that states Iowa’s Constitution does not “recognize, grant or secure a right to abortion.” Senator Jake Chapman, a Republican from Adel, says the amendment will over-rule the decisions of unelected judges.

If this year’s Republican-led legislature endorses the language, it must also be approved by the legislature sometime in the following two years. That means 2022 is the earliest Iowans could vote on the amendment. Chapman says there’s no way voters will not understand what’s being proposed.

Critics like Reverend David Sickelka of the United Church of Christ in Urbandale say the amendment would set a dangerous precedent.

Jamie Birch Elliott of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Iowa also testified at Thursday’s statehouse hearing.

The proposal cleared the first hurdle in the legislative process. It will now be considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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