Iowa lawmakers are pushing an abortion ban most of their citizens really don't like


Iowa's Legislature is committed to an anti-abortion path regardless of what the people want.

Iowa legislators are pushing an anti-abortion ballot measure that flies in the face of what their constituents want. It's just the latest attempt by conservatives and anti-abortion activists to impose their agenda even though the majority of the state's residents support abortion. 

Both the state House and the Senate are moving forward with a joint resolution that proposes an amendment to the Iowa Constitution. That amendment, were it to pass, would declare that the constitution "shall not be construed to recognize, grant, or secure a right to abortion or to require the public funding of abortion." 

Iowa has a somewhat complicated path to getting a proposed amendment on the ballot. Both chambers of the legislature have to pass the same language before the end of the 2022 legislative session and again before the end of the 2024 legislative session. Thus far, the House has passed it, while it's still making its way through committees in the Senate. 

The proposed amendment is similar to constitutional provisions already on the books in Alabama, Tennessee, and West Virginia. Kentucky is putting a similar measure on the ballot in 2022, as is Kansas

Most people in Iowa don't want this on the ballot, even as the Legislature keeps pushing it. A recent poll conducted by the Des Moines Register found that only 31% of Iowans support the measure, while 58% oppose the measure, and the remaining 11% aren't sure.

A not unexpected 82% of Iowa Democrats surveyed oppose the measure, but opposition is found in other demographic groups as well: independents register 57% opposition to the bill, and slight majorities of both Protestants and Catholics oppose it as well.

In fact, the only subgroups where support for the amendment cracks 50% are Republicans, evangelicals, and 2020 Trump voters. 

A disregard for the will of the people when it comes to abortion isn't peculiar to Iowa. A 2019 nationwide poll found that 77% of people surveyed want the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold Roe v. Wade, albeit with varying levels of restrictions, while 61% of people surveyed in another 2019 poll said abortion should be legal in all or most cases. A nationwide majority of Catholics polled believe abortion should be legal, in contrast to the high-profile views of archconservative Catholics such as Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

Iowa's Legislature appears to be committed to an anti-abortion path, regardless of what the state's voters want and regardless of the legality of the proposed laws. In the last few years, courts have overturned Iowa's 72-hour waiting period, a so-called "fetal heartbeat" ban, and last year's 24-hour waiting period. Only time will tell if the constitutional amendment would suffer the same fate.