Iowa Senate Democrats to campaign on proposed abortion rights amendment

DES MOINES — Democrats in the Iowa Senate have released a package of bills to expand birth control access and ensure Medicaid patients who are new moms get regular check-ups covered for a year to try to reduce Iowa’s abnormally high maternal mortality rate. The group is also proposing a constitutional amendment to Iowa’s Constitution that would guarantee the right to an abortion.

Senate Minority Leader Pam Jochum  of Dubuque says the 16 Democrats currently serving in the state senate and the Democrats who’ll be running for senate seats this fall are united.  “A vast majority of Iowans support safe, legal abortion in this state,” Jochum says. “and we believe we need to stand firm and let people know where we stand as Democrats and what we’re going to fight for in this coming election cycle.”

Senator Janet Petersen, a Democrat from Des Moines, says the proposed constitutional amendment to guarantee abortion access in Iowa is similar to amendments in Michigan and Ohio that easily won approval this year.  “A constitutional amendment ensures reproductive freedom cannot be infringed upon by extremist politicians hellbent on taking away the ability of Iowans to control their own bodies and lives,” Petersen says.

Republicans hold significant majorities in the Iowa Senate and House and passed a law in July to ban most abortions in Iowa after the sixth week of a pregnancy. The Iowa Supreme Court is expected to rule by June on whether the law may take effect.