Editor’s note. The following are part of the governor’s remarks delivered at the Family Leader Summit.
It’s such a pleasure to address this Summit just days after I convened a special session of Iowa’s General Assembly to once again address the most important human rights cause of our time: protecting unborn human lives from the atrocity of abortion.
This is a worthy battle and one I will never concede.
In May of 2018, I proudly signed the fetal heartbeat bill into law. Days later, it was challenged by abortion providers who do little to help women in crisis understand their choices and grossly misrepresent the service they provide as health care.
For the last five years, our battle ground has been in the courts. We continued to stand strong, fighting the good fight, believing that the law would prevail and justice would be served.
Then, just a few weeks ago on June 16, the Iowa Supreme Court, by a 3-3 tie, failed to exercise its authority to dissolve the lower court’s injunction of Iowa’s fetal heartbeat law.
While half the bench expressed the opinion that the court had “failed the parties, the public and the rule of law” by refusing to decide the case, the other three justices engaged in pure political rhetoric, comparing an unborn child to trash and declaring the fetal heartbeat law to be no law at all, only a “hypothetical law.”
They also expressed their uncertainty that such a law would be passed today post-Roe, as if the politics of the day would change our view on life.
They were wrong.
This week, in a rare and historic special session, the Iowa legislature voted for a second time to reject the inhumanity of abortion and pass the fetal heartbeat bill.
I’m especially grateful to our House and Senate leadership—House Speaker Pat Grassley, House Majority Leader Matt Windschitl, and Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver—and to the bill’s floor managers in each chamber, Rep. Shannon Lundgren and Senate President Amy Sinclair.
In a few minutes, I look forward to inviting all our legislators in attendance today onto the stage for the bill signing.
But for now, let’s give them a huge round of applause for their courage and resolve in defending the most basic of human rights—the right to life.
The work we have done together from the state house to the public square is making a difference. But our work is not done.
As we gather here today—and at this very moment—the abortion industry is in court trying to prevent this law from taking effect and stop the will of the people once again.
But the passage of this legislation—by an even wider margin this time—sends an unmistakable message: Iowa’s 2018 heartbeat law was not “hypothetical” or an empty gesture, and it was not a mistake.
It was an ironclad commitment to the smallest and most vulnerable among us. All life is precious and worthy of the protection of our laws.
I can’t imagine a more appropriate place to sign this bill than here at the Family Leader Summit, alongside such strong advocates who have fought and prayed for the protection of life for decades. Thank you for your courage and conviction.
We’re also privileged to be joined by many presidential candidates making their case to Iowans. I’m proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with all of them, united in our respect for life.
Like every pro-life candidate, they’re often questioned by the media about the issue of abortion. That’s perfectly appropriate; or at least it would be if similar questions were ever directed at the other side.
Just a few weeks ago, the Iowa Democratic party said Roe should be the floor, not the ceiling. And yet elected Democratic officials and candidates in Iowa and around the country are never pressed to answer the tough question.
When is an unborn baby worth protecting? Or are there no limits?
Make no mistake, with almost no exceptions, Democrats believe in abortion on demand up until the very moment of birth.
For the media here today: if you think I’m wrong, just ask them.
And I hope you do. The American people deserve to know the truth.
We have a responsibility not only to protect the unborn in law, but to change the destructive culture of abortion that still exists in a post-Roe world.
Even with the fetal heartbeat bill, the fight continues for a robust culture of life that welcomes children, supports mothers, and involves fathers. As a pro-life governor, I will continue to promote policies designed to surround every person involved in a pregnancy with protection, love, and support.
The compassionate foster care and adoption solutions long championed by The Family Leader will now be more important than ever. We also need to keep promoting healthy pregnancies, childbirth, and families through Iowa’s MOMS program, which provides funding to pregnancy resource centers that specialize in supporting new and expectant mothers, and to programs that encourage fatherhood.
But today, the most glaring injustice of all is about to be put right. Everyone understands that a heartbeat signifies life. And we understand that when it falls silent, something precious has been lost.
We read in Scripture that the Author of life wants to give “a future and a hope” to all his children. Who are we to stand in his way?
With the self-evident answer to that question in mind, I’ve never been prouder to sign a bill into law.
Thank you for standing for life, the most fundamental of our rights.
God bless you, and God bless the great state of Iowa.