•Well meaning legislators need to step back and do what is possible and useful (see our concluding comments)
• Pushers of the Heartbeat legislation especially need to do the same, not mislead people into believing that the “heartbeat” legislation that passed the state Senate and is now before the House for consideration will stop any abortions without changes in the courts here and at the United States Supreme Court, or limitations on the courts, or correctives in the US constitution.
• Roe v Wade and its progeny apply to the states. A frontal assault with undeveloped resources is not a good strategy. Two huge blocks to success are the Iowa and Federal courts. Erode, undermine, go around, eliminate support for Roe, change courts, yes alter perceptions but have a cogent plan and don’t risk a redefinition or recapitulation of the so-called abortion right because of poor timing on our part.
• Let states with better, life affirming courts take the lead
• The current judiciary, at the state and federal levels are not the places to risk the unborn with ill preparation given the reality of abortion jurisprudence while forgoing effective legislation, education, and litigation possibilities
• The Iowa Catholic Conference for good reason is neutral on the Iowa heartbeat legislation as written and Quad City Right to Life endorses views of National Right to Life and Americans United for Life in pursuit of honesty and effectiveness in legislative pursuits
Organizations supporting this particular legislation are welcome to hold forth in these pages, especially as to what theory of practical governance would let such legislation take effect, given Roe v Wade & Doe v Bolton and their progeny. We would also like to know why other efforts (more sustainable and less risky in our judgement) useful to pave the way for heartbeat legislation are not pursued and even opposed by some of the Heartbeat Bill proponents.
The article below from Lifesite News, who we suspect might support such legislation nevertheless reports objections fairly and succinctly. The bold emphasis is ours as we find it compelling. We two passages in red for effect. Keep in mind that the national organizations with more legislative and legal experience in fighting abortion successfully are not in favor of wasting resources on such approaches. Think objectively.
DES MOINES, Iowa, March 1, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – On Wednesday, the Iowa Senate passed landmark pro-life legislation known as the “Heartbeat Bill,” which if put into law would outlaw aborting babies with detectable heartbeats.
Pre-born babies’ hearts begin to form around 21 days into pregnancy, and are detected on ultrasounds just a few weeks later.
Iowa’s Republican-controlled upper chamber approved the bill in a 30-20 vote along party lines.
The legislation which now awaits a vote by the state’s lower chamber – also controlled by a Republican majority – would make it a felony for doctors to commit abortions after detecting a fetal heartbeat.
The only exception would be for pregnancies that threaten a mother’s life.
“This bill is the logical beginning point for all of civil governance,” said Sen. Amy Sinclair, adding that it strikes “at the very heart and soul of what it means to be an American, what it means to be a person.”
Sinclair also asserted that the anti-abortion measure is not a war on women, noting, “roughly fifty percent (50%) of the people we are electing to protect here are indeed women, so in fact a failure to pass this bill would be the true war on women in its most pure sense.”
Sen. Jason Schultz, R-Schleswig, who served on the subcommittee which produced the legislation, said he believes culture has been moving towards a pro-life view for decades – a view that has become repulsed by a “holocaust of death” related to abortion.
“This may be what our culture is ready for,” Schultz continued. “Stopping a beating heart is never health care.”
Planned Parenthood gloats: Iowa Catholic Conference ‘neutral’ on Heartbeat Bill
Planned Parenthood is broadcasting that the Iowa Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the Iowa Catholic Bishops, has joined with them and Democrat legislators in opposing the Heartbeat Bill.
The Iowa Catholic Conference was officially “neutral” on the Heartbeat Bill.
After passage of the bill on Wednesday, Planned Parenthood voters of Iowa tweeted, “Iowa Medical Society, Iowa Catholic Conference, common sense: Passing the 6-week abortion ban is a bad idea.” The tweet included a gif of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West shaking their heads.
Iowa Medical Society, Iowa Catholic Conference, common sense: Passing the 6-week abortion ban is a bad idea.
Iowa GOP: Don’t care.#ialegis #WeWontGoBack #SF2281 pic.twitter.com/3OxG9PY85L
— PP Voters of Iowa (@PPVotesIA) February 28, 2018
In a statement issued on February 8 to the Iowa Senate Judiciary Subcommittee as it discussed the bill, the Iowa Catholic Conference said that it “supports the life-affirming intent of ‘heartbeat legislation,’” but stopped far short of offering robust support for the measure itself:
We acknowledge the efforts of legislators and groups who challenge the current legal precedents to abortion.
We respect the fact that legislation often involves judgments about the most effective and timely means for advancing the protection of unborn children.
At the same time, we should take into account that this bill is likely to be found unconstitutional. We should consider the unintended long-term consequences that could result from a court finding a robust right to an abortion in Iowa’s Constitution, which could include the elimination of some of the limitations on abortion we already have in Iowa. Therefore, the Iowa Catholic Conference is registered as neutral on the legislation.
Despite the opportunity to pass the groundbreaking anti-abortion legislation into law, a number of pro-life groups have shied away from offering their support. They say if enacted, it will immediately be tied up in protracted litigation and ultimately face defeat in court.
They argue that the measure violates the U.S. Supreme Court’s rulings that affirm women have a legal right to abortion, saying this is reason enough to adopt a more measured, incremental approach. Such an approach, they say, can’t be easily assailed as unconstitutional.
When a similar Heartbeat Bill was introduced in Tennessee last year, Tennessee Right to Life opposed it. The organization’s president, Brian Harris, was as far as to testify against the legislation, saying that his group wants to support measures that stand a stronger chance of holding up in court.
Harris warned that no abortion prior to viability of the pre-born baby can be criminalized, adding that the U.S. Supreme Court has already struck down the efforts of two states to enact a similar “heartbeat” law, according to a report in the Memphis Daily News.
The Ohio legislature passed a Heartbeat Bill in 2016, but Republican Gov. John Kasich vetoed it. Ohio Right to Life opposed that bill.
But other pro-life activists see “heartbeat” legislation as likely to be upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, and say they don’t want to adopt a defeatist attitude.
V’pac note: On what confident basis can such an assertion be made given experience with the appointments over the years of alleged conservatives like Kennedy and Souter? Key to this is that the more conservative members are states’ rights oriented not necessarily disposed to a federal right to life and as a result the Iowa Supreme Court unavoidably rears its menacing head. The safer approach is to look for ways to hamstring the courts as regards serving as a political body.
“Iowa would be the first state to recognize what science already affirms: a baby in the womb has her own unique DNA, her own unique heartbeat, is her own unique person,” noted Bob Vander Plaats, president and chief executive officer of The Family Leader, an Iowa-based pro-life and pro-family group.
V’pac note: There is no plan or strategy to sustain this in the courts, no practical wisdom in the face of the serpents. The effort calls out for consensus by organizations that know what they are talking about and can sustain the legal battle and all its implications. None have been revealed that we are aware.
Iowa’s Heartbeat Bill still has hurdles to clear. Republican House leaders haven’t said publicly if they will support the bill, according to a report in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier. That report also noted, “Republicans hold a 59-41 majority in that chamber. GOP Gov. Kim Reynolds also hasn’t given a definitive answer on the legislation.”
Any confidence that heartbeat legislation is likely to be upheld by the current U.S. Supreme Court is irresponsible. Right now we do not want the current U.S. Supreme Court to have another swing at abortion legislation of this nature and risk instilling another 45 years of abortion by refashioning it and killing further review for years to come. Changes on the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) are going to take more concentrated political efforts focused in the short term on the U.S. Senate. But even if a state’s rights ruling was to be emitted by the current SCOTUS after passage of a heartbeat bill in Iowa, an unlikelihood after the current Iowa Supreme Court gets a hold of it and kills it here, it would only come back here to the same Iowa Supreme Court that (likely) tried to kill it. Such a court “confidence game” at this time is bait and switch, or apples and oranges with one not ripe and the other rotten.
In Iowa the timing of retention votes is important to changing the state supreme court but our bet is the Iowa Supreme court would now issue rulings to their least-risk political advantage. The lay of the land does not appear particularly good now, should it pass, even with a prompt ruling from the state judiciary instead of a lengthy stay. We should work to insure judicial appointments are more conservative and that involves electoral politics at the state level.
Unless a states’ rights ruling is more assured from SCOTUS (obviously we would prefer a a defined right to life) we can alternatively look for ways to hamstring courts as to jurisdiction at the state and federal level.
We should definitely concentrate on undermining Roe and what produced it in “sustainable” ways looking for real opportunities. We need to concentrate on defunding every vestige of the pro-abortion bureaucracy and all of its tentacles. Give women and others aggrieved by abortion affirmative causes of action against the abortionists and their support system. Prosecute Planned Parenthood.
Protecting the unborn in the U.S. Constitution and state constitutions is the true gold standard, not bills subject to bad courts. Legislative innovation is important but what is needed in Iowa, unless a better game plan has been revealed, is to leave this sort of innovation to where all the ducks are better in a row or to less risky environs.