DES MOINES — Iowa Democrats say this week’s Kansas vote to uphold abortion rights shows the same could happen in Iowa.
“This tells us that Americans and Midwesterners and, we know, Iowans believe in reproductive choice,” House Democratic Leader Jennifer Konfrst said, “and we should enshrine that right in Iowa’s Constitution.”
A 2019 court ruling in Kansas said the Kansas constitution guarantees a right to an abortion. On Tuesday, 59% of Kansas voters opposed changing their constitution, so the Kansas legislature could enact new abortion restrictions.
“Kansans rejected a government mandate that would limit their health care options,” Konfrst said, “and it’s the exact same kind of amendment that the Republicans in the Iowa House and Senate are pushing forward.”
The proposal has already cleared the Iowa legislature once in response to a 2018 Iowa Supreme Court ruling that upheld abortion rights. The proposed constitutional amendment must be approved a second time before it could be included on the 2024 Iowa election ballot. Konfrst said if that happens, she doesn’t expect support for abortion rights to diminish two years from now.
“This is an issue that Democrats are in line with the people on and Republicans are not and it’s my job, it’s our job to remind Iowans of that,” Konfrst said. “One party is here to protect your freedoms. One is trying to take it away. That’s what we’ll be talking about.”
Eric Van Lancker, the Democratic Party’s nominee for lieutenant governor, said Iowans are telling him abortion rights are a very important issue.
“Kansas did what we know Iowans believe here, (which) is that the overreach of government doesn’t belong in that doctor’s appointment with a women and her doctor,” Van Lancker said during an online news conference organized by the Iowa Democratic Party.
It’s possible Republicans in the legislature may abandon their proposed constitutional amendment on abortion. In June, the Iowa Supreme Court reversed a previous ruling that said Iowa’s constitution guarantees a woman’s right to an abortion. That ruling meant a 24-hour waiting period for abortions in Iowa went into effect last month. Republican Governor Kim Reynolds also has asked a district court to lift an injunction, so an Iowa law that bans abortions after the sixth week of a pregnancy could be enforced.