Proposed amendment states Iowa Constitution doesn’t confer abortion rights

DES MOINES — The 32 Republicans in the Iowa Senate Thursday endorsed a proposed constitutional amendment that says the state’s founding document does not protect abortion rights.

“Ending life through the practice of abortion is the most egregious violation of human rights in the history of humanity,” Senator Zach Whiting, a Republican from Spirit Lake, said during this afternoon’s debate.

All 18 Democrats in the Senate voted against the proposal.

“The real agenda here is to restrict access to abortion,” Senator Eric Giddens, a Democrat from Cedar Falls, said. “This amendment will pave the way for countless abortion restrictions and bans.”

Republican Senator Randy Feenstra of Hull, who is running for Congress, said the proposal leaves it up to voters to decide if women should have a right to an abortion.

“So what are you scared of?” Feenstra asked. “…Are you scared that people are starting to see that these are humans, huh?”

Senator Jackie Smith, a Democrat from Sioux City, called the proposed amendment “an extreme attack on women and their health care.”

“We’re here discussing this amendment to the constitution so you can take away the right to an abortion at your very first opportunity,” Smith said.

A similar proposal did not come up for a vote in the Republican-led senate last year — and tonight, Governor Kim Reynolds tweeted her thanks for this year’s senate action. If the House passes the proposed amendment this session, it will have to be passed again in 2021 or 2022 before it could be submitted to a vote of the people.