by  | May 24, 2021

As I sat in the Iowa Capitol Chamber watching and listening to the Senate proceedings of the final vote to pass the Life Amendment, in the third week extension of this legislation session, I had such mixed emotions.  My heart was grateful to all the pro-life advocates and legislators who worked relentlessly and long to see this through.  I was excited for the victory we gained and wanted to scream and shout from the observation area I was in.  My heart was broken as I heard arguments in opposition to the amendment and the accusations that we are against women, which were not true.  But my primary emotion was to acknowledge I felt anxious about the future, so we do not lose the momentum valiantly fought for in 2021.  As I contemplate the thoughts swirling that day, these things I know.  I am secure in knowing the Coalition will work hard to educate Iowans about the impact of the Life Amendment.  I am assured by the prayers of those who cherish life and support the sanctity of life cause.  But mainly, I feel hope and trust.  Hope and trust in the fact our work will never be in vain and with humble hearts before God, He will hear our cry for the lives yet to be born!

Thankfully as of May 20, 2021, the Life Amendment made its way through the political process and passed both the House and Senate! Even though there were differences in wording between the houses, Representative Steve Holt explained that the compromise sought to make the language simple and concise.

Our pro-life legislators worked hard and were passionate about the job before them. While abortion is an issue raised by the amendment it also deals with a broader issue of the courts making up the law. Sen. Julian Garrett, R-Indianola stated, “You can read the Iowa Constitution over and over and over again, and you’ll never see anything about abortion.”

The proposed amendment reads:

“Life. To defend the dignity of all human life and protect unborn children from efforts to expand abortion even to the point of birth, we the people of the State of Iowa declare that this Constitution does not recognize, grant, or secure a right to abortion or require the public funding of abortion.”

The Iowa Legislature will need to pass the proposed amendment during the 90th General Assembly (in 2023 or 2024) before it can go before Iowa voters for ratification. Proposed constitutional amendments do not require the governor’s signature.

Iowa’s Coalition of Pro-Life Leaders, of which Iowa Right to Life is a founding member, held a joint press conference on May 19 to clarify why the amendment is so needed and to express gratitude to the Iowa Legislature for passing it.   Speaking on behalf of the Iowa Coalition of Pro-Life Leaders at the press conference were Bob Vander Plaats, President and CEO of The FAMiLY Leader and Maggie DeWitte, Executive Director of Iowans For LIFE.  Portions of their remarks are below.

“Today marks the first step in restoring the proper voice of the people of Iowa,” commented Bob Vander Plaats. “In 2018, five radical, unelected judges stripped that voice away, declaring that they and they alone get to set Iowa’s abortion laws. Without constitutional grounds or any input of the people, they invented a so-called ‘right’ to abortion and then paved the way for future courts to force late-term abortion and taxpayer-funded abortion on Iowa. But the vast majority of Iowans don’t want to fund elective abortions nor live in a state where a baby’s life can be snuffed out just moments before her first breath,” Vander Plaats continued. “The judges were wrong to silence Iowa voters and seize for themselves the power to rewrite the people’s constitution. Today, the Iowa Legislature was right to give Iowans our voice back.”

“The Life Amendment represents everyday Iowans telling unelected judges, ‘You don’t get to just decide the abortion debate for us,” added Maggie DeWitte, Iowans For LIFE, Executive Director. “Because there’s one argument in the debate you didn’t take into account, one truth you can’t argue away: That little girl in her mother’s womb, she’s a baby.”

The Coalition specifically thanked the amendment’s floor managers in the respected houses of Congress, Representative Steven Holt and Senator Jake Chapman, who both also spoke at the event.

If you would like to research how your legislators voted, you can go to the following Journal entries and find the “yeas” and “nays”.

Senate Journalhttps://www.legis.iowa.gov/docs/publications/SJNL/current.pdf  Scroll down to page 8 of Journal  (Roll Call on page 8 and 9)

House Journalhttps://www.legis.iowa.gov/docs/publications/HJNL/20210518_HJNL.pdf  Scroll down to page 27 of Journal

If you would like to join us in the fight, your financial support would be very welcome!