DES MOINES, Iowa – Gov. Kim Reynolds spoke at the Prayer for Life rally organized by the Coalition of Pro-Life Leaders held in the rotunda of the Iowa State Capitol on Monday.
“You’re here today because you know that God doesn’t make human beings expendable. He tells us clearly, ‘before I formed you in your mother’s womb, I knew you. And before you were born, I consecrated you.’ This is the source of our rights and our dignity. Whatever courts may say today, we know God doesn’t bless something unless it’s of the utmost importance,” she said as she thanked the pro-life activists gathered.
Reynolds encouraged pro-life activists to remain engaged as the nation stands “on the brink of a historic breakthrough,” referring to the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Center case before the Supreme Court that could potentially reverse the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision affirming Roe.
Reynolds was one of 11 governors to file an amicus brief supporting Mississippi’s law that bans abortions after 15 weeks.
“For half a century, elected officials and states across the country have tried to defend innocent unborn life, only to be prevented by these rulings since they were decided in 1973. As you’ve heard, over 63 million babies have been aborted. Yet today, we have more reason to hope than we have since it was first decided,” she said. “Last year, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Dobbs, which represents the court’s best opportunity yet to undo its fatal mistake. The question in the case is simple. Yet all important. Does the United States Constitution require states to withhold legal protection from an entire class of defenseless human beings? The answer to that question is an emphatic no.”
Reynolds pointed out the scientific advances in neonatal medicine and what has been learned about preborn babies since 1973.
“Roe and Casey rule out even the most basic legal protections for these vulnerable, precious babies. They can’t be reconciled with the most basic understanding of human rights, let alone with the truth that, like us, unborn children are made in the image and likeness of God,” she said.
Reynolds criticized the Iowa Supreme Court’s 2018 decision that ruled the Iowa Constitution protects abortion rights.
“The decision has already made his presence felt. Within a year of taking office, I signed one of the nation’s first bills designed to ensure that an abortion could never stop a beating heart. But it was halted by a district court judge who said it violated our constitution. The people who actually wrote Iowa’s constitution said nothing about abortion. What they did write was this: ‘All men by nature are free and equal, and have certain inalienable rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty.’ Those words aren’t just beautiful; they’re also very straightforward. In Iowa, innocent life should be protected, not discarded, yet with one ruling, Iowa’s laws went from one of the most pro-life in the country to one of the least,” she argued.
Reynolds recounted calling for a constitutional amendment to clarify that the Iowa Constitution does not provide a right to abortion or the taxpayer funding of abortion. The Iowa Legislature passed that during the 2021 session, and it will need to pass it again during the 90th General Assembly before Iowans vote on whether to ratify it.
She said her administration is also defending the 24-hour waiting period law that was recently passed and challenged in court.
The make-up of the Iowa Supreme Court has changed, so Reynolds hopes that it will reverse course, calling the law a “common-sense measure.”
“It’s also a chance for the state Supreme Court to reaffirm what the framers of Iowa’s constitution expressed so eloquently, that every human life is precious,” she said.
Reynolds encouraged those in attendance to stay the course.
“We’re closer than ever to one of our foremost goals. So now is the time to keep pushing to keep speaking up. And most of all, to keep those prayers coming. Because like you, I won’t rest until our laws and our society recognize that all people, no matter how small, are entitled to the right to life,” she concluded.
Several lawmakers spoke before Reynolds.
State Rep. Steve Holt, R-Denison, complained that society has strayed from the faith-based values of America’s founders.
“We have seen our nation veer further and further away from basic moral imperatives to the point that our nation is hardly recognizable anymore,” he said. “Riots in our streets attempt to legitimize stealing from others, demands by the LGBT community and pop culture that we deny biology and accept their alternate version of reality. A breakdown of discipline throughout our society.”
Holt pointed out that abortion, once characterized as needing to be “legal, safe, and rare,” is now celebrated as “something to be proud of in total disregard for the soul that is lost.”
He said progressives seek to “destroy all norms of morality in our society in favor of their new order.”
Holt later pointed out that the government ultimately can not solve the problem of abortion or the nation’s moral decay.
“I will say to you that government is not the solution here. Government is merely reflective of what is going on in our society, we have to pray for revival folks big time, we have to pray for revival,” he said.
Iowa Senate President Jake Chapman, R-Adel, pointed to the Declaration of Independence, stating America’s founders had it right.
“These rights: the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are unalienable, which means they are inherent in us, in each of us. As such, these rights cannot be taken away, nor can they be granted. Often, rights or laws allow, or they may restrict your rights. However, when rights are unalienable, no power of government or man should be permitted to restrain or abridge those rights. Our founders were not mistaken in the order of these unalienable rights, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Without life, there is no liberty, and without life and liberty, there is no pursuit of happiness,” he said.
Chapman called Iowans to action.
“Albert Einstein is credited with the following quote, the world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watched them without doing anything,” he said.
Chapman ended with invoking God’s blessing, “May we never be found standing silent. May God grant us wisdom as we fight valiantly for the cause of life. May he hear the cries of those who have had their voices silenced. May He move in the hearts of those who are conflicted in preserving life. May He heal the wounds of those who live life with regrets, and may God bless each and every one of you as we take on the valiant cause of defending life.”
Earlier, State Senator Mark Costello, R-Imogene, updated those in attendance about the “MOMS Bill,” SF 2354, a priority for pro-life activists during this legislative session.
The bill requires the Iowa Department of Humans Services to create a statewide “More Options for Maternal Support (MOMS)” program to promote healthy pregnancies and childbirth through nonprofit organizations that provide pregnancy support services.
Costello reported the bill made it through the Iowa Senate Ways and Means Committee and a Ways and Means subcommittee. The legislation that has appropriations connected to it is funnel proof.
“I think we’re making good progress on this bill,” he said.
“We’ve had surveys that show that the main reason that women choose to have an abortion is because they don’t feel the support that they need, they (would) like to have the baby but they don’t see how they can manage it. And so this is to try and help with that process,” Costello added.
He explained that the bill will “put more money into that system help build a more robust network of people who are willing to try and help young women who are in an unwanted or unplanned pregnancy, to go ahead and follow through with that.”
The rally also included a time of prayer with an opening prayer by Pastor Steven Wonbenyakeh of Alive Church in Ames and then closing in prayer led by Brenda Schaffer with Passion Church in Davenport and Pastor Todd Stiles of First Family Church in Ankeny.
Readers can watch the entire rally in a video provided by The FAMiLY Leader below: