The November 2016 Election ushered a Republican majority into both the Iowa House and Senate. In January and February of 2017, Republican legislators introduced several pro-life bills, including, defunding Planned Parenthood, outlawing abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, and outlawing abortion altogether via the Life at Conception bill.
Many believed that 2017 would be the year that Iowa would make pro-life history.
It was an historic election with historic possibilities.
Similar to President Donald Trump following through on his election promises, several Republican legislators introduced a starting point for meaningful pro-life legislation.
But that was all they accomplished.
The majority of legislators — Republicans — actually retreated from and prevented the starting point from becoming anything else.
State Senator Brad Zaun, R-Urbandale, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, tried his hardest to advance SF 253, despite receiving numerous death threats.
Initially, Republicans on the Judiciary Committee expressed support for SF 253, but when it came down to voting, Sens. Dan Dawson, R-Council Bluffs, and Tom Shipley, R-Nodaway, refused to support it because it did not include an exception for rape or incest.
Even one cosponsor of the Life at Conception bill buckled under pressure, withdrawing support from the very bill she helped introduce.
At one point, there was a possibility that the bill could be moved from the Senate Judiciary to a different committee, but even that option proved unsuccessful, as not enough Republicans would vote in favor of the measure to move it to the next legislative phase.
Similarly, the companion House bill, HF 297, died in the Human Resources Committee because it did not have the votes needed to pass.
In essence, Iowan Republicans effectively aborted any chance of SF 253 and HF 297 from becoming law in this legislative session. Why did Republicans not have enough votes to pass these bills? Are the "No" voters receiving funding from abortionists and organizations like Planned Parenthood?
What pressure was so great that they couldn’t affirm that a baby is a baby — a human being — whose life should be protected by law?
Iowan Republicans in both the House and Senate could not even uphold their own Republican Party platform, which states: "We acknowledge our rights derive from God, our creator, and are therefore unalienable and include Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness (e.g. private property). Further, the Right to Life shall be understood to include all people from conception to natural death.”
If Iowa Republicans can’t follow their own platform, why have a platform at all?
Did Iowa Republicans intend to accomplish anything while holding a majority in all three legislative branches? Or, are they Republican in name only?
They, like many in Washington, D.C., prove once again the truth of what columnist Mark Stein calls, America’s "two-party one-party state."
Stein remarks that "the permanently frozen institutionalized nature of the party system in America had led to a kind of ‘two-party one-party state.'"
He further explains, "The two-party one-party state doesn't work so well for conservatives — even with big, historic Republican victories. . . . Republicans [are] a party of seat-warmers — until the pendulum swings and the Dems come roaring back. When the left wins, they're in power; when the right wins, they're in office, and that's all.
"A substantial portion of the base gets that, and is sick of it. They feel like they're losing their country, and they want more than a party that promises merely to lose it a little more slowly."
Sadly, it appears that Iowans once again received nothing but empty promises from a Republican majority elected to office.
Bethany Blankley is a former Capitol Hill communications strategist, Fox News Radio political analyst, public speaker, and commentator on Christianity and politics in America. Her commentary can be read in numerous publications. She won the 2017 Xulon Press Christian Writers Award. Follow her: @BethanyBlankley. To read more of her reports — Click Here Now.
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