My convictions on abortion should be evident to all because they have never changed, they never will, and because I have spoken to the issue a number of times on the Senate floor. I will continue to defend the unborn child!
It’s appropriate to have this discussion with my constituents now because of recent events in Iowa and around the country. Those events clearly demonstrate the ever clearer contrast between those who defend life at all stages and those who champion the “right” to kill an unborn baby.
In recent years Iowa became known as the most pro-life state in the union because your elected representatives passed legislation to protect the unborn baby, and the governor signed that legislation. In 2017, the Iowa legislature said that abortions could not be performed after 20 weeks gestation, and required a 72 hour waiting period. In 2018 the Iowa legislature passed the “Heartbeat Law”, prohibiting abortion if a heartbeat could be detected. Both measures became Iowa law when signed by the governor.
Meanwhile, in June 2018, Iowa’s Supreme Court issued a ruling on the 72-hour waiting period for abortions. The court declared that “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty” there was a “fundamental right” to abortion in the Iowa Constitution. The 5-2 opinion said that Iowa’s Supreme Court judges have now “freed ourselves from the private views of the Constitution’s founders” and that the Constitution can now be interpreted according to “prevailing and evolving standards”.
In effect, the Iowa Supreme Court gave themselves the power to amend the Iowa Constitution without a vote of the people or even of their elected representatives. This decision is more radical than any federal court decision. Roe allowed limits to abortion based on viability and trimesters. The later Casey decision said abortion could be regulated unless it created “an undue burden” on women. In the June decision Iowa’s Supreme Court disregarded the limits on abortion permitted by the federal Supreme Court.
So this is the bottom line: Iowa’s elected representatives passed laws, and the governor signed those laws, establishing Iowa as the most pro-life state in the country. Iowa’s (unelected) Supreme Court, with the stroke of a pen, flipped Iowa to the least pro-life state in the country.
So here’s my question: If the legislative branch makes a law that violates the Constitution, the court can declare that legislation to be unconstitutional; if the executive branch takes an action that violates the Constitution, the court can declare that legislation to be unconstitutional; who corrects the judicial branch when the court violates the Constitution?
The answer is: We the People! That is why Senate Republicans are working to pass a constitutional amendment that makes one simple statement. “Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion.” This position is not radical in any sense; this kind of “neutrality” amendment simply restores the legislature’s right to regulate abortion.
While this is going on in Iowa, Democrats in other states appear determined to make it legal to kill babies right up to birth! New York not only legalized abortion right up to the due date, they cheered on their Senate floor, and lit up their buildings and bridges in pink lighting to celebrate their power to kill babies. Vermont is working on legislation to permit abortion up to the due date with no restrictions whatsoever. Virginia’s Governor talked candidly about how they would deal with an unwanted child after birth, openly discussing infanticide.
I’m sick of all the tired old arguments justifying abortion like “it’s a clump of cells, not a baby”, or it’s “women’s health care”, or it’s a “war on women”, or the “government has no right to be involved in the legislation of abortion”. I want those of you who defend the right to kill babies to explain to me why what’s going on in other states is somehow okay. You own this!
After all, the only difference between a heartbeat, viability and birth is time. A new and distinct life begins at conception, and ends when the heart stops beating. All of you know this just as well as I do!
The contrast between the pro-life and the pro-abortion camps has never been more apparent than it is today. It’s time we decide in Iowa what kind of state we are. It’s time to decide whether we are going to save babies or kill babies in Iowa.
I close with the words of Mother Teresa. “America needs no words from me to see how your decision in Roe v. Wade has deformed a great nation. The so-called right to abortion has pitted mothers against their children, and women against men. It has sown violence and discord at the heart of the most intimate human relationships. Human rights are not a privilege conferred by the government. They are every human being’s entitlement by virtue of his humanity. The right to life does not depend, and must not be declared contingent, on the pleasure of anyone else, not even a parent or a sovereign.”
Photo credit: Ctjf83 via Wikimedia Commons (CC-By-SA 3.0)