116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Note: This is an excerpt from Gov. Kim Reynolds’ Condition of the State address on Jan. 10. We invited the governor’s office to provide a guest column supporting the MOMS program but received no response.
As you can already tell, much of the focus of tonight’s speech is on our children. On how we set them up for a fulfilling and productive life.
But that task doesn’t start when they’re in grade school. It begins when life does; before the child is even born.
That’s why I’ve fought so hard in the courts to make sure that this legislative body can do what it so clearly has the power to do: protect the unborn.
It’s also why we created the MOMS program last year. When fully operational, this statewide network of nonprofits will connect women with pregnancy support services, including safety net resources, housing assistance, and recovery and mental health treatment.
It sends a powerful message: that a pro-life state is one that surrounds every person involved in a pregnancy — born and unborn, mother and father — with protection, love, and support.
Every woman facing an unplanned pregnancy deserves to know she is worthy of this, that she is not alone. Just ask Sarah Hurm.
When she was 26 and a single mother to three, Sara found out she was pregnant with #4. Her first reaction was to break down in tears under the stress: How would she ever make it work? What would people say?
Looking for help, she called the father, who told her they needed to be “responsible adults.” To him, that meant abortion.
Feeling like she had no choice, she scheduled an appointment where she took the first pill to induce a chemical abortion.
Immediately she was filled with regret. She had heard the baby’s heartbeat, and the sound replayed in her mind. It weighed on her when she picked up her children from school. How is this life different from theirs, she wondered. And it weighed on her when she went to bed that night.
The next morning she called the abortion pill reversal hotline, where help is available 24/7. And thankfully it was. The staff immediately connected her with a local doctor who administered a reversal that saved her baby’s life.
Today, Sarah volunteers at a pregnancy clinic that provides support to women facing unplanned pregnancies. She shares her story and her compassion with mothers who are facing the same decision she was. She helps give them the support that was missing for her; support that should be available to every expectant mother.
Sarah and her children, including her son Isaiah who is celebrating his fourth birthday tomorrow, are here with us tonight.
Please join me in recognizing them for their courage to fight for every life.
There’s one aspect of Sarah’s story I don’t want you to miss — the father of her son was not there to support her; in fact, he did the opposite.
It’s impossible to overstate the importance of paternal involvement for mothers and children alike.
One pregnancy support center estimated that 85% of their clients would carry their child to term if they had a supportive partner.
Studies show that without a father present, a child is more likely to have behavioral issues, live in poverty, and die in infancy. With him, those indicators and others are reversed. Mothers are more likely to receive prenatal care, have a healthy birth, and experience less stress as a parent.
Tonight, I’m calling on the legislature to expand the MOMS Program to promote paternal involvement and address the needs of fathers. This new funding would allow us to provide nonprofit grants to assist at-risk dads, as well as mentorship for school-age males.
This session, in everything we do, let’s promote strong and healthy families.
Kim Reynolds is the governor of Iowa.
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