State Senator Mariannette Miller-Meeks on the floor of the Iowa Senate at the start of the 2020 legislative session. (Photo Source: Miller-Meeks Campaign’s Facebook page)

DES MOINES, Iowa – Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) endorsed Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District race over the Democratic nominee Rita Hart.

The district’s open seat is considered a toss-up after U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, announced his retirement. 

The national pro-life group did not endorse Miller-Meeks before she won the Republican nomination, and this is the first time they have supported her in the four times she ran for Congress.

“With a 100 percent pro-life voting record during her time in the Iowa Senate, we can count on Mariannette Miller-Meeks to stand with unborn children and their mothers in Congress,” said former U.S. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, SBA List Candidate Fund Vice President. 

“Mariannette has consistently backed pro-life initiatives, such as the effort to put a pro-life constitutional amendment directly on the ballot for Iowa voters, and legislation stopping taxpayer funding of abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood. Her record stands in stark contrast to Rita Hart, a pro-abortion extremist who is endorsed by groups that promote abortion on demand through birth. She will vote in lockstep with Pelosi’s pro-abortion agenda. We are pleased to endorse Mariannette and urge pro-life Iowans to support her,” she said.

Miller-Meeks’ voting record in the Iowa Senate on the life issue is spotless, but many pro-life voters were skeptical of her during past races where she failed to secure the endorsement of groups like Iowa Right to Life and SBA List.

Before the primary, news broke that she touted herself as “pro-choice” when running for Iowa Senate in 2018 during an event with the Ottumwa League of Women’s Voters.

When asked about the fetal heartbeat abortion ban, Miller-Meeks first said she wanted to defer to the courts. The prohibition was found unconstitutional at the district court level, and the Governor’s office decided not to appeal based on prior Iowa Supreme Court ruling.

“This is probably something that’s going to be challenged by the Iowa Supreme Court, and we’ll go forward, whether or not it will be upheld, we’ll know in the near future. And will it be a costly endeavor? Yes, it will. But sometimes when it comes to issues that are extremely challenging, that are controversial, and that create tremendous animosity on both sides, it is best that that be challenged, be brought up legislatively, have the people decide. And then if it’s challenging the court system, I think that offers resolution to people on both sides of the issue,” she stated.

“It’s difficult as a woman to face this issue. I’m also Catholic, I am pro-choice, but it’s a very sensitive issue. And when Roe v Wade was decided and even since that time, we have not done a favor to women. There are women who have had abortions who regret that they’ve had abortions and don’t know where to seek solace or help or support. And there are women who are caught in an untenable situation, that they’re looking for guidance and a resolution to their situation and the best thing for the day and their family to do,” Miller-Meeks answered. 

Miller-Meeks’ campaign said that she “misspoke.”

“Senator Miller-Meeks was speaking to the point that she is a pro-life Catholic when it came to her mind that some notable Catholic elected leaders are pro-choice. That prompted her to misspeak,” Eric Woolson, spokesperson for the campaign told Caffeinated Thoughts. “As a physician, she was emphasizing her belief that, regardless of the medical condition being discussed, doctor-patient conversations need to be private and free of government intervention. All doctor-patient dialogue is, and should remain private.” 

Woolson said that her voting record as a state senator is more important than her “misspeaking at an event.”

“Every time Senator Miller-Meeks has had an opportunity to vote on a pro-life issue, she voted yes. One-hundred percent of the time. That includes her 2019 support of a pro-life amendment to the Iowa Constitution and being the only woman senator to stand up this legislative session in favor of that same pro-life amendment. She also voted for the budget to defund Planned Parenthood and for other pro-life measures,” he added.

“Votes are what counts. Votes create the law of the land, and Senator Miller-Meeks’ votes have always been in support of life. There is no contesting that fact,” Woolson concluded. 

Her main primary opponent, Bobby Schilling, in his concession statement after losing the primary said that his campaign got Miller-Meeks to “embrace a more pro-life position” that included endorsing the heartbeat abortion ban.

He said he planned on supporting her in the fall. 

Miller-Meeks was elected to the Iowa Senate in 2018. A veteran and a doctor, she served in the U.S. Army for 24 years, earning the rank of lieutenant colonel. She then established a medical practice in 1997 in Ottumwa, Iowa, where she and her husband Curt still live. They have two grown sons.

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