Des Moines, IA — In a hastily scheduled meeting, lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee today passed a proposed amendment to the Iowa constitution that would strip Iowans of their right to safe and legal abortion, setting the measure up for a vote in the full House.
The vote comes a day after a subcommittee approved the measure, an unprecedented timeline that further limits Iowans’ ability to offer input on a bill that would for the first time ever take away their constitutional rights.
“There is no valid reason why legislation of this magnitude needs to be rammed through the legislature so quickly,” said Jamie Burch Elliott, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Iowa Executive Director for Public Policy. “Iowans deserve the opportunity to safely take part in the governing process. It is clear that Iowans’ voices are being hampered by their elected officials in an effort to fast track legislation that would pave the way to be ban abortion. It is beyond disheartening.”
House subcommittee members met Tuesday in a scaled back 20-minute meeting in which members of the public were forced to risk their health and safety to travel to the capital to give testimony. Lawmakers received more than 40 pages of written comment but weren’t required to take them into consideration. Those who logged into the video stream of the meeting were not acknowledged or allowed to speak.
To amend the state’s constitution, the Iowa Senate would have to approve the measure. Both legislative chambers would then have to approve it within two years after the 2022 election. Iowa voters would then have a say on a ballot measure, with the earliest vote in 2024.
The constitutional amendment would allow legislators to adopt measures to limit or ban abortion altogether if Roe v. Wade is overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, which has a new 6-3 conservative majority.
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Iowa (PPAI) is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a mission of fostering and preserving a social and political climate favorable to reproductive health. To meet this mission, PPAI engages in lobbying, issues education, and supporter mobilization.