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Iowa pursues constitutional amendment protecting life

Iowa legislators are working to ensure that Iowa protects life in a post-Roe environment, and Clarke Forsythe, Senior Counsel at Americans United for Life, weighs in:

The amendment would expressly state that the Iowa Constitution “does not secure or protect a right to abortion.”

Several … states have deployed the tactic of a constitutional amendment, which in Iowa would have to twice clear both chambers of the Legislature before going to voters for ratification.

The move lays the groundwork to ban abortions altogether in Iowa should the increasingly conservative U.S. Supreme Court overturn the landmark 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision that established a woman’s legal right to terminate a pregnancy.

“When the Supreme Court overturns Roe v Wade, with a constitutional amendment the people and their elected representatives would be able to again decide the issue rather than the state courts in Iowa,” said Clarke Forsythe, senior counsel at Americans United for Life, a Washington-based pro-life law firm and advocacy group.

Voters in Alabama and West Virginia passed similar constitutional amendments in November. Tennessee passed one in 2014.

At the root of much of the state activity is the belief that Roe could be overturned soon. Such a decision would return the regulation of abortion to the states the belief is that those with constitutional amendments declaring no right to an abortion exists under the state constitution would have a better chance of abortion limiting legislation surviving legal challenges.