Photo Credit: Jason Mrachina (CC-By-NC-ND 2.0)
Photo Credit: Jason Mrachina (CC-By-NC-ND 2.0)

The fetal heartbeat abortion ban bill, SF 2281, has been assigned to the Iowa House Human Resources Committee and has yet to be assigned to a subcommittee. Similarly, SF 2238, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), is still waiting for a floor vote in the Iowa Senate and it will need to pass a House committee vote. The 2nd funnel deadline is a week from today.

Iowans deserve a public vote on both of these bills even if they lose.

Some consistency, some transparency?

I’ve already written about SF 2281, but I want to remind Iowa House leadership of some recent history.

It was not long ago when there were three Iowa State Representatives who opposed any abortion bill that fell short of a personhood bill. I publicly criticized that opposition to what I thought was some good legislation. They held up some good bills, and that was wrong.

Holding up SF 2281 is NO different.

At least they were public with their opposition, and there was not an attempt to provide those State Representatives any cover.

Those holding up SF 2281 may be doing so with the best intentions. Some are concerned about the ramifications of judicial review going the wrong way on a bill such as this. While I understand the concern, we can’t let it paralyze us. Every bill we pass could, and probably will, face a challenge in court. Abortion activists challenged the three-day waiting period for an abortion for crying out loud; you can’t get more incremental than that!

I understand that a stronger case could be made with multiple states passing legislation like this, but someone has to lead the way, don’t they? Also, to overturn Roe v. Wade, we will need a judicial review of an abortion ban.

You may disagree, and that is fine, but be willing to be public with that opposition. If you believe your argument is sound, then you should be prepared to explain it to your constituents.

Update: Caffeinated Thoughts has learned that the Thomas More Law Center and Liberty Counsel have agreed to defend this bill should it become law all the way to the Supreme Court on a pro-bono basis.

There is simply no excuse not to pass this bill.

“Chamber Republican” or Champion of Liberty?

The who’s who of big business has lined up against RFRA in Iowa. This opposition should not surprise anyone. They did it in Georgia. They did it in Arkansas. They even came out in droves against a common sense bathroom/privacy law in North Carolina.

There is a line in the sand here.

If you are an Iowa Senate Republican you have to decide whether you are a “Chamber Republican” (kowtow to the Chamber of Commerce and Big Business) or you care about personal and religious liberty.

RFRA is not a discrimination bill. RFRA provides some legal resource for Iowans who are under compulsion by the state to act in a way that would violate their religious beliefs or personal conscience.

They could still lose their appeal.

President Bill Clinton who signed the federal RFRA bill SF 2238 is modeled after said this when he signed RFRA into law in 1993, “What (RFRA) basically says is that the Government should be held to a very high level of proof before it interferes with someone’s free exercise of religion.”

That’s it.

This bill, again, does not allow discrimination. It asks three relevant questions:

  1. Does the individual have a sincere belief that is being substantially burdened? If it is no, the case is closed, and the individual loses. If yes, the case moves forward.
  2. Does the government have a very good reason (like health or safety) to interfere? If no, the case is closed, and the individual wins; if the answer is yes, the case moves forward.
  3. Is there a reasonable alternative to serve the public interest? If the answer is no, then the individual loses. If yes, the individual wins.

(HT: Becket Fund)

Twenty-one states have RFRA laws on the books, including states like Illinois and Connecticut that are considered some of the friendliest states for the LGBT community.

Also, this bill does not just protect evangelical Christians. It helps to protect any Iowan who faces government action that could trump their religious liberty or personal conscience.

Don’t buy the lies about this bill embraced by the business community. Stand up for Iowans’ freedom of religion and freedom of conscience. Iowans deserve to know where their State Senator stands.

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