Members of the Iowa Senate Judiciary Commitee.

The Republican Party of Iowa’s platform says, “We acknowledge our rights derive from God, our creator, and are therefore unalienable and include Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness (e.g. private property). Further, the Right to Life shall be understood to include all people from conception to natural death.”

All people from conception…. This is right at the top of the platform.

The Republican National Convention platform states:

The Constitution’s guarantee that no one can “be deprived of life, liberty or property” deliberately echoes the Declaration of Independence’s proclamation that “all” are “endowed by their Creator” with the inalienable right to life. Accordingly, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to children before birth.

This refers to the 5th and 14th Amendments and they then infer to unborn children personhood which isn’t restricted to pre-born children after 20 weeks.

We have been told that if we only had control of the Iowa Senate, Iowa House and Governor’s Mansion then we will see good pro-life legislation pass.

The Iowa Legislature is on the verge of reallocating taxpayer money away from abortion providers to federally qualified health centers. Governor Terry Branstad is expected to sign that bill which has already passed the Iowa Senate.

That is certainly praiseworthy, but let’s be honest, that’s the bare minimum. That is a starting point, not an ending point. This year represented the best opportunity we have had in the state to see meaningful pro-life legislation pass.

Unfortunately the Iowa Senate’s Life at Conception bill – SF 253 – died in the Judiciary Committee today. It was dropped off the agenda as bills from the majority tend to do if there are not enough votes.

State Senator Brad Zaun (R-Urbandale) is the chairman of the Judiciary Committee said at the end of the meeting he was disappointed certain bills were not brought up for a vote. He later told Caffeinated Thoughts that he was extremely disappointed and was sickened that the life at conception bill did not survive the first funnel.

State Senator Jack Whitver (R-Ankeny), as President of the Senate, could have moved the bill to a different committee, and was willing to, but the other committee being considered didn’t have the votes either.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix (R-Shell Rock) could have done the same thing that former House Speaker Kraig Paulsen did when working to pass the gas tax – rearrange the committee to get the votes needed. While one could argue that Speaker Paulsen opened up the door for this tactic it doesn’t set a very good precedent.

It’s unfortunate that would be considered out of necessity.

In the Senate Judiciary Committee State Senators Dan Dawson (R-Council Bluffs) and Tom Shipley (R-Nodaway) were the hold-outs against the bill.

Why? The bill wasn’t anti-birth control even though opponents characterized it that way. One challenge is helping some legislators understand the difference between contraceptives and abortifacients – they are not the same thing. State Senator Charles Schneider (R-West Des Moines) had concerns about potential legal challenges, as well as, some unintended consequences due to some of the language in the bill. He apparently changed his mind, but it didn’t matter as one more vote was needed.

Both Dawson and Shipley reportedly objected to the bill because of no exceptions for rape and incest.

The Iowa House version of this bill, HF 297, died in the Human Resources Committee. The reason communicated to Caffeinated Thoughts is that the bill was primarily tabled since the Senate version didn’t survive funnel week. It is uncertain whether there was enough votes for the House bill to make it out of committee as well.

The Iowa House saw the 20-week abortion ban, HF 298, die in the Human Resource Committee as well. The word out of the committee was that there wasn’t enough votes, and it is uncertain who the no votes are.

The Iowa Senate Human Resources committee did pass the Senate version of the 20-week abortion ban, SF 53, on a 9 to 3 vote. It was amended by State Senator Mark Chelgren (R-Ottumwa) and that language needs to be studied (as of this writing the amendment was not available online.)

There is a possibility that SF 53 could be amended with life at conception language when it comes up for debate. Should the bill pass the Senate and House unamended it would be a modest step forward as only in the neighborhood of one percent of all abortions happen after 20 weeks. After the potential that existed when Republicans won the Iowa Senate and expanded their majority in the House this bill could be seen as a bitter consolation prize.

The base of the Republican Party will need to decide what to do with that.

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