JOHNSTON — Appalled at legislation in other states that allows third-trimester abortions up until the time of birth, Gov. Kim Reynolds forcefully supports efforts to amend the Iowa Constitution to make clear it does not guarantee a right to an abortion.
“Let’s just say I continue to be appalled by what I see playing out across this country,” Reynolds said Friday during a taping of Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press.” “When you see what is happening in New York and Virginia, and other states are looking at late-term abortion — aborting a baby that is in the birth canal, infanticide after a baby is born, talking about potentially murdering it — that is unconscionable, it’s evil, and I think that is what is driving some of the response that you’re seeing.”
The response moving through the Iowa Legislature is Senate Joint Resolution 9, sponsored by 29 Republicans, to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot declaring there is no right to abortion in Iowa.
In Iowa, the governor doesn’t play an official role in resolutions calling for constitutional amendments, but Reynolds said she believes it’s important to put the issue on the ballot and make the case to voters to change the Iowa Constitution.
“I think it’s just unconscionable that we even as a society today are entertaining and talking about aborting babies in the third trimester,” said Reynolds, a Republican elected to a full term in November. “And so this is a step that we can put that in front of Iowans.”
The proposal, which cleared a Senate subcommittee earlier this week, was drafted after Iowa courts struck down Republican-written legislation that attempted to mandate a three-day waiting period for an abortion and to ban all abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, usually around six weeks of pregnancy.
The Iowa Supreme Court has upheld a 2017 legislative ban on abortion after 20 weeks.
Reynolds, a mother of three, said four of her 10 grandchildren spent time in the neonatal intensive care unit. There she saw “picture after picture after picture of babies that were born weighing 1 pound that today are vibrant and healthy and having an amazing life” as a result of technology and medical progress.
She doubts the majority of Americans agree with legislation approved in New York and debated in Virginia that would allow later-term abortions.
It remains to be seen whether there is support in the Iowa House for the amendment. Some Republicans have indicated reluctance to enact more abortion-related legislation while the fetal heartbeat law is under judicial review.
If SJR 9 is placed on the ballot, “We’ll go out and make the case. … We’ll see what happens and where this ends up,” Reynolds said.
Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press” airs at noon Sunday on IPTV and online at IPTV.org.