Pro-life sign at St. John’s Catholic Church in Onawa, IA.
Photo credit: Katrina J. Houdek (CC-By-SA 2.0)

Since my first campaign for the Statehouse, I have been unabashedly clear to my constituents that I am a staunch supporter of the most innocent and vulnerable among us, the unborn. During my time serving you we have made many advancements in the fight for life such as making sure a mother is fully informed of the alternative options to abortion, redirecting healthcare dollars to holistic women’s health centers instead of abortion providers, requiring an ultrasound be offered to a mother so she can see her baby before making a decision to terminate her pregnancy, and just last year the Legislature passed a 20 week abortion ban with a 3 day waiting period, we have accomplished these and many other victories for the unborn.

These victories have been hard fought and have taken years to achieve, but they have been worth every battle and every long arduous debate. These past victories have changed the narrative on abortion and helped people recognize the value of life in the womb better than ever before. They have also been essential in laying the foundation for the recent victory we have achieved for the unborn in Iowa. On May 1st the House passed the Heartbeat bill and combined it with the prohibition on procuring and selling baby body parts. The bill prohibits abortions after a baby’s heartbeat can be detected in the womb and makes it a crime to sell an aborted baby’s body parts. The Senate also passed the bill and it is going to the Governor for final approval.

In order to obtain the necessary votes to secure passage we did have to include some exceptions in the bill. The exceptions are for cases of rape, incest, life of the mother and when a baby in the womb is not developing properly and will not survive the pregnancy. While some in the Pro-Life community do not approve of these exceptions, and I fully understand their point of view, the exceptions were the key to getting this bill through the legislative process. These exceptions were carefully written in order to better ensure that in those horrible circumstances of rape or incest that the proper authorities can be notified and the perpetrator of the crime can be brought to justice for their heinous crimes. We also ensured that the exceptions in this bill would not undermine the 20 week abortion ban we passed last year.

Now, I am not naïve about this Heartbeat bill. There will more than likely be a legal challenge questioning the constitutionality of the bill, but that is one of the many positive aspects of this proposal. In my opinion it is past due that the courts revisit the flawed Roe v. Wade decision which has led to the loss of over 60 million innocent unborn lives since 1973. With the advancements in medical technology and science, we can now definitively point to the fact that from the moment of conception a new and unique human life is being formed in the womb. Should those innocent new lives not be afforded the same rights and protections as all other human beings including the right to life? I firmly believe they should! The opponents of this proposal have said the legal challenges could cost the state a great deal of money in legal fees, but there have already been multiple legal organizations that have stepped forward and offered to cover the legal costs and also provide a rigorous defense of this law before the courts.

Of all the Pro-Life bills I have worked on and voted for over the years, this Heartbeat bill is the most monumental and impactful bill I have ever had the opportunity and privilege of voting YES on! This bill has the potential of saving thousands of innocent unborn lives in our state every year. It also redirects the discussion from abortion being a “difficult choice” back to where it rightfully belongs to that of recognizing that all life is a gift from God and it should not be terminated in its most innocent and vulnerable stage. To put it more succinctly House Republicans gave a voice to the voiceless and stood for innocent life during the roughly 9 hours of debate and it was one of the proudest moments of my time serving you.

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