116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
With constitutional abortion rights on the line in the U.S. Supreme Court, you can be sure Iowa will be at the forefront to ban abortion altogether.
The court this week heard arguments in a challenge to a restrictive Mississippi abortion law. If the law is upheld, it could give justices an opportunity to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey decisions.
Iowa Republicans say they are for individual liberty and against abortion. But under their leadership, we get less liberty and more abortion.
“Autonomy and dominion over one’s body go to the very heart of what it means to be free.” - Iowa Supreme Court, 2018
Over the past five years of one-party control of state government, Republicans have chipped away at access not only to abortion but also to birth control, all but guaranteeing that demand for abortion rises. As a result of their policies, the number of abortions is predictably increasing in Iowa — up more than 40 percent over a two-year period after declining for years.
Iowa’s restrictions have sometimes been blocked by the courts but turning back federal abortion protections could clear the way for extreme restrictions. Iowa Republicans are simultaneously working on an anti-abortion amendment to the state constitution, which could go up for a public vote as early as 2024 and leave the courts unable to stop the lawmakers.
Experts on law and medicine can debate the issue but it comes down to a matter of sovereignty over one’s self. If unborn humans have rights then surely pregnant humans have rights. A ban on abortion in effect is a mandate on women carrying out pregnancies against their will.
Court decisions have repeatedly pointed to individual liberty as the basis of abortion rights.
When the Iowa Supreme Court struck down a 72-hour waiting period law in 2018, justices wrote, “Autonomy and dominion over one’s body go to the very heart of what it means to be free. At stake in this case is the right to shape, for oneself, without unwarranted governmental intrusion, one’s own identity, destiny, and place in the world. Nothing could be more fundamental to the notion of liberty.”
It echoes the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Casey, a 1992 decision that upheld Roe: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life. Beliefs about these matters could not define the attributes of personhood were they formed under compulsion of the State.”
My fellow Republicans make hypocrites of themselves by droning on about liberty while also fixating on abortion restrictions. The very first words of the Iowa GOP platform are “As Republicans, we uphold the principles of individual responsibility and liberty.”
The platform also says abortion issues “belong under the constitutional authority of the state.” And there’s the rub: The social conservatives value state sovereignty over individual sovereignty. They want the government to play a central role in your life, they would just rather it be politicians in Des Moines than politicians in Washington, D.C.
It turns our statements of principles into muddled messes of cognitive dissonance. It is a craven bastardization of our American experiment in limited government and individual liberty.
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