Despite widespread opposition from their constituents, the push by Republican lawmakers to add language to the Iowa Constitution effectively banning abortion has moved forward.
Less than one third of Iowans support the measure, and fifty eight percent oppose it, according to the most recent Iowa poll conducted by the Des Moines Register.
The Republican-majority Senate passed House Joint Resolution 5, a bill saying Iowa’s Constitution promises no right to abortion, with a partisan 30-17 vote.
Earlier this year the House of Representatives passed the same amendment. But it will have to pass that chamber again because the Senate added language to the bill justifying it as a measure to protect mothers from expanded abortion access.
The bill now reads, “To defend the dignity of all human life, and to protect mothers and unborn children from efforts to expand abortion even to the day of birth, we the people of the State of Iowa declare that this Constitution shall not be construed to recognize, grant, or secure a right to abortion or to require the public funding of abortion.”
Before, the bill didn’t include mothers or mention efforts to expand abortion.
This amendment is a response to the 2018 Iowa Supreme Court ruling that found a right to abortion in Iowa’s constitution. That ruling also struck down a law that would have required women wait 72 hours between seeking an abortion and having the procedure.
In its earlier versions, the bill also didn’t acknowledge how the amendment would make it easier to pass abortion restrictions in Iowa.
Because the bill is meant to amend the constitution, it has to pass the House again this year or next, and then be approved by both chambers again in the 2023 General Assembly. After that, the resolution will be on the November 2024 ballot for Iowans to vote on it.
In recent years, Republicans have tried a few times to restrict access to abortion. First by mandating a 72-hour waiting period for women pursuing the procedure, and then with the “heartbeat” bill, banning abortions once a fetal “heartbeat” is detected.
Both were struck down on the same principle that the laws violate Iowa’s—and the federal—constitution on the grounds of due process and equal protection. .