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Rep. Kim Pearson

Seeing the realization of preborn children being protected in Iowa took one baby step yesterday as House File 153 was passed out of it’s subcommittee on a party line vote.  This bill reads:

The sovereign state of Iowa recognizes that life is valued and protected from the moment of conception, and each life, from that moment, is accorded the same rights and protections guaranteed to all persons by the Constitution of the United States, the Constitution of the State of Iowa, and the laws of this state. The Iowa supreme court shall not have appellate jurisdiction over the provisions of this section.

I especially like the part where they take away the Iowa Supreme Court’s jurisdiction in the matter.  If passed it would go immediately into effect, and in effect Iowa would then nullify the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

State Representative Kim Pearson (R-Pleasant Hill), the bill’s sponsor, and State Representative David Heaton (R-Mount Pleasant) voted in favor of the measure.  State Representative Beth Wessel-Kroeschell (D-Ames) voted against.  The next step is the Iowa House Human Resources Committee where Republicans hold a 12-9 majority so the bill stands a good chance of passing out of the committee, and passing in the House.

The Iowa Senate is where I think it’ll get stalled.  I am wholeheartedly behind this bill and would encourage you to contact your State Representative and State Senator (might as well apply pressure even though it isn’t in the Senate yet).

While I’m behind this bill I also believe we need to push for HF 5, the late term abortion ban as well.  This personhood bill is obviously the holy grail of prolife legislation, but it is not the only bill out there.  Contrary what some believe.

I’d like to see all of the prolife bills get passed.

13 comments
  1. While I agree with this bill in principle, I don’t see there being any chance of it being upheld by the current U. S. Supreme Court. Anthony Kennedy already voted to uphold Roe v. Wade once. I don’t see why he would change his mind now. The court in Roe rejected the idea that the Constitution granted personhood to the unborn under the 14th amendment. As far as I know, not even the conservative justices hold that position. Their beef with Roe is that abortion shouldn’t be a constitutional right, that is should be left to the states.
    Also, Iowa can’t just “nullify” a U.S. supreme court decision about federal constitutional rights simply by amending the state constitution when the federal constitution is the supreme law of the land. If this amendment went up to the supreme court in the near future and gets Roe reaffirmed again, it may actually hurt our chances of reversing Roe in the future. This type of personhood amendment only really makes sense as a federal amendment. At the state level, the best course woudl be to pursue bills like house file 5- which probably has a better chance of being upheld in court.

  2. While I agree with this bill in principle, I don’t see there being any chance of it being upheld by the current U. S. Supreme Court. Anthony Kennedy already voted to uphold Roe v. Wade once. I don’t see why he would change his mind now. The court in Roe rejected the idea that the Constitution granted personhood to the unborn under the 14th amendment. As far as I know, not even the conservative justices hold that position. Their beef with Roe is that abortion shouldn’t be a constitutional right, that is should be left to the states.
    Also, Iowa can’t just “nullify” a U.S. supreme court decision about federal constitutional rights simply by amending the state constitution when the federal constitution is the supreme law of the land. If this amendment went up to the supreme court in the near future and gets Roe reaffirmed again, it may actually hurt our chances of reversing Roe in the future. This type of personhood amendment only really makes sense as a federal amendment. At the state level, the best course woudl be to pursue bills like house file 5- which probably has a better chance of being upheld in court.

    1. I understand what you are saying. I wouldn’t equate their decision on Roe v. Wade being at the same level with the U.S. Constitution. So they aren’t nullifying the U.S. Constitution, but a court ruling. There’s actually precedent for this, but you have to go pretty far back to see it.

      But again, I understand your argument.

      1. please cite your precedent for a law nullifying a Supreme Court decision on a question of constitutional interpretation.

      2. The Wisconsin Legislature voted against and the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled against the fugitive slave act of 1850. The U.S. Supreme Court reversed the Wisconsin court’s decision and then Wisconsin, along with several other states, such as Connecticut (1854), Rhode Island (1854), Massachusetts (1855), Michigan (1855), Maine (1855 and 1857), and Kansas (1858) passed legislation to neutralize that law and court decision.

        So are you saying that a state can nullify a law that Congress passes, but not a court decision? Or are you against the idea of nullification all together?

      3. Shane the problem with your analogy is that the process you’re talking about is much more legally complex. The Wisconsin Supreme Court did issue a ruling that the law was unconstitutional which the United States Supreme court reversed in Ableman v. Booth. However, the subsequent actions in other states was to pass legislation which rendered the law unenforceable by requiring the local law enforcement and state courts to assist fugitive slaves and not a declaration that the Act was unconstitutional. This never became a judicial issue because the federal government never took any steps to force the states to comply with the law. Without a case or controversy there was no grounds for the federal judiciary to get involved. Had that happened very likely the federal courts would have decided that since the law was constitutional, it compelled the states to comply.

        In the case of this law, a plaintiff need only bring an action citing the law’s violation of Planned Parenthood v. Casey (Roe is not fully the controlling precedent on abortion) and a court would have to decide. Even if the state courts were compelled to rule in favor of the law, the case would then go to federal courts (or could conversely go there directly). In that arena this law would most likely be shot down and appealed through the system to the United States Supreme Court. If the court reversed its position, it would be the new precedent which nullified Casey & Roe.

        This law doesn’t really nullify Casey & Roe. It is in opposition to them and in my mind probably conceived (no pun intended) to bring a challenge to that line of cases so that the US Supreme Court will reverse them. The only way to nullify a US Supreme Court decision about the constitution is to amend the constitution (nearly impossible) or to get a new ruling by the US Supreme Court which overturns the older case.

  3. I mistakely thought this was a state constitutional amendment, but I see that it’s just a bill . But that doesn’t really change my analysis. A state statute certainly can’t nullify a U.S. supreme court decision about the U.S. constitution either( a decision that struckdown a state statute, btw). Also, can they actually strip the Iowa Supreme Court of appelate review? That seems fishy.

      1. I don’t completely agree with that. I think it ultimately comes down to how the law would be challenged. If an equal protection argument can be made against the law, I believe the SCOI becomes the eventual authority, as it would be seen as a case in chancery, which the Iowa constitution itself establishes as the Court’s jurisdiction.

  4. is pearson trying to get unseated in 2012? Her district is an otherwise democratic district, and she managed to sneak in an a republican wave year. You don’t gain supporters by trying to draw attention to yourself.

    1. Reelection isn’t what is important to her, doing the right thing is. She campaigned on all of this, and if the voters reject it in two years so be it. HD 42 while yes there is a Democratic majority, it also has a large chuck of independents. Also, many of those Democrats are of the “bluedog” variety. They may be with Democrats on labor and some fiscal issues, social issues not so much.

  5. Pearson’s Personhood bill is fatally flawed. Prolifers, of which I am one, need to seek to legally protect the fertilized human egg from the moment of implantation in the uterus–not from the earlier moment of conception.It is widely accepted that birth control pills frequently function by not preventing conception but by preventing the fertilized human egg from successfully implanting in the mother’s uterus following conception. Yes,Jill June is right–Pearson’s bill would ban the Pill. Let’s leave use of the Pill to individual conscience and do what’s much more doable–protect life in law by declaring that for legal purposes life begins at implantation–not conception.

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