Looking Back, Moving Forward

In addition to our outreach and educational efforts, our lobbyists, Eric Goranson and Norm Pawlewski, were at the Capitol each day this year championing our priorities for the year and looking for open doors to shape public policy in Iowa in a way that respects human life from fertilization to natural death.  This has proven challenging in a legislature that is extremely diverse with narrow majorities in each chamber.  Passing laws is supposed to be hard, which is why the process includes many steps.  When you add in all the extenuating circumstances of this session, that process gets even harder.

In spite of the Iowa Senate failing to pass the webcam abortion bill, we did make some huge progress this year and we want to make sure you know about some of these advances:

Webcam Abortion

The Iowa House passed our webcam abortion ban with a bipartisan vote of 55-42 earlier in the session.  We are extremely grateful to Representative Kevin Koester (who shepherded the bill through the process), Rep. Matt Windschitl, and others who were willing to work so hard to see this bill sent over to the Senate.

Once in the Senate, the bill was never even given a subcommittee.  In spite of a University of Iowa poll showing 66.3% of Iowans support the ban; a Des Moines Register poll showing 66% support the ban; 30,000+ signatures collected by Iowa Right to Life of Iowans from all over the State supporting the ban; a flurry of emails from many of you this session requesting they take action; and the efforts of our lobbying team; the Senate refused to take action.  This is extremely disheartening, but we are committed to seeing this through and will continue to work on this issue regardless of the outcomes of this year’s election.

A special thank you to the Iowa Catholic Conference, Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition, and Americans United for Life for working with us every day on this bill!  A number of other groups also supported the bill and we are grateful for the support.

Adoption Tax Credit Passes!

On a positive note, Iowa Right to Life was part of a diverse group of advocates that supported a tax credit bill first brought up by Rep. Megan Hess (R-Spencer.) The bill creates a $2,500 tax credit to help offset the expenses associated with adoptions in Iowa.  The credit is per child and available for all types of adoptions.

Thank you to Iowa House leadership and Rep. Megan Hess for championing this bill!  We were extremely honored to be a part of the process!

Family Planning Waiver

The final version of the human services budget did not make permanent the “family planning waiver” that passed several years ago. This waiver provides government-funded pregnancy prevention services for men and women who are under 55 years of age with an income of up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level.  Although pleased the waiver was not made permanent, we encourage the legislature to fund other health centers that can provide these and other services in a way that doesn’t encourage increased referrals to abortion providers.

Wrongful Death / Civil Cause of Action

HSB 598, a civil cause of action in the case an unborn child was killed due to violence, did not advance this year.

Restraints

This session Iowa Right to Life supported a bill that would ensure restraints are used properly on pregnant inmates.  For a couple of years now, a number of organizations, including Iowa Right to Life, have sought to add transparency to redacted policies on restraints of pregnant inmates, to ensure the health of the baby and the inmate are protected, and provide the child the best chance for a healthy outcome.

We applauded the Iowa Senate when it unanimously approved the bill, but were disappointed when the bill failed to gain any traction in the House.

Moving Forward

We are committed to seeing the bills that didn’t get passed this year get the attention they deserve.  We believe women should be treated with dignity, that babies in the womb have done nothing to deserve the death penalty, and that Iowans have spoken clearly that webcam abortions should end immediately.  We’ll also be watching the courts very closely as the Iowa Board of Medicine rule banning webcam abortions moves through the judicial process.

We will continue to work on bills that deal with webcam abortion, efforts to defund abortion providers, marketing our safe haven laws in Iowa, preventing unborn victims of domestic and other violence, and other opportunities to protect the unborn and others whose lives are not fully protected.

Iowa Right to Life will also be updating you more frequently on our joint-efforts with national partners to impact public policy at the federal level.  We believe Congress and the Supreme Court have the obligation to pave the way for an end to elective abortions in our nation.  Iowa Right to Life is engaged in efforts at the federal level to take our momentum on the ground in Iowa and translate that into efforts that will affect elected officials and judges throughout the country as they realize Americans are waking up to the realities of abortion and are increasingly demanding the ultimate solution: Federal law that respects ALL human life and frees up and puts pressure on States to finally put an end to this atrocity once and for all.