Staff Editorial

Restricting abortion in Iowa will not promote life

Rev. Sarah Trone Garriott, an ELCA Lutheran pastor in Des Moines, argues with Ryan Jorgenson, senior pastor of Harvest B
Rev. Sarah Trone Garriott, an ELCA Lutheran pastor in Des Moines, argues with Ryan Jorgenson, senior pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel in Grimes, before an Iowa Senate subcommittee hearing on a bill to deny funding for health providers that offer abortion services at the State Capitol in Des Moines on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017. The bill was signed into law by Gov. Terry Branstad in of several steps Republicans in state government have taken to restrict access to abortion. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

In her condition of the state speech, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced her intention to amend the state constitution to make clear the document does not grant a right to abortion.

It’s becoming a pattern with Republicans who control the Statehouse — proposing amendments that curtail the rights of Iowans or seek to put a thumb on the scales of justice. During the last decade there have been GOP drives to uproot marriage equality and to tilt judicial review of gun control laws. Now it’s reproductive rights in their sights.

Reynolds twice has tried to sign into law bills dramatically restricting access to abortion — a bill requiring a 72-hour-waiting period before an abortion could be performed and a bill outlawing abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. Both bills were ruled unconstitutional by Iowa’s Supreme Court. Reynolds also has systematically undercut and defunded Planned Parenthood in the state, leading to a crisis in health care access across Iowa and in sexually transmitted infection rates in counties.

Amending the constitution is the last-ditch effort for policies that have found no legal footing elsewhere and that can endanger the life and health of Iowans.

Each attempt by Republicans to undermine reproductive rights in Iowa has led to confusion about laws in the state, added barriers of access to a vital and necessary procedure and racked up large court costs.

Additionally, Reynolds and the GOP insist on pushing unconstitutional restrictive abortion laws instead of

actually doing what they want to do and reducing abortion. Study after study consistently shows that the only way to reduce abortions is with access to contraceptives and comprehensive sex education.

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In defunding Planned Parenthood, Reynolds and the GOP has undercut their goals to promote life and maternal health in the state. Reporting by The Gazette and others continually shows that the GOP’s Iowa Family Planning Program, which is supposed to act as a replacement to the loss of Planned Parenthood facilities in the state, is fatally flawed and ineffective.

Additionally, abortion existed before Roe v. Wade, and it doesn’t matter how many restrictions on abortion are put in place, abortion always will exist. Making abortion in Iowa unconstitutional will just drive the procedure underground, further risking the lives of people in this state.

If promoting life in Iowa is the true goal, then Reynolds and the GOP need to stop their endless assault on reproductive rights. If the goal is a cynical firing up of the base, then Iowans need to understand that there is a true cost of playing politics with our bodies.

Comments: (319) 398-8262; editorial@thegazette.com

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