21 senators back putting abortion ban to vote

DES MOINES – More than 20 Iowa state senators have signed a resolution intended to outlaw abortion in the state, but even a key supporter said Friday it likely won’t get a vote.

Republican Sen. Dennis Guth of Klemme said the resolution he sponsored would make abortion illegal by amending the state constitution to define life as beginning at conception.

“This would send a message to the Supreme Court of Iowa that the people of Iowa want to defend life at all stages,” he said.

Although one Democrat joined with 20 Republicans in signing the resolution submitted Thursday, Guth said it likely won’t come up for a vote in the Senate, where Democrats hold a majority.

To change the state constitution, the measure would need to be passed by lawmakers, then approved by the Legislature elected in 2014 before a public vote.

Senate Democrats rejected a Republican amendment to the state human resources budget earlier this month that would have outlawed abortions funded through Medicaid in cases of rape, incest or fetal deformity.

Guth said the latest resolution is modeled on North Dakota legislation expected to go to voters in November 2014. It defines life as starting at conception, essentially banning abortion in the state.

Abortion-rights advocates have said the North Dakota measure is unconstitutional and would be rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Guth said he doesn’t believe the Iowa measure would violate the U.S. Constitution.

“I would not necessarily say it’s unconstitutional, it just needs to be tried … we just need to have the right case at the right time,” he said.

Also signing the resolution were: Republican Sens. Ken Rozenboom, Kent Sorenson, Amy Sinclair, Nancy Boettger, David Johnson, Jake Chapman, Mark Segebart, Bill Anderson, Joni Ernst, Rick Bertrand, Tim Kapucian, Hubert Houser, Jack Whitver, Mark Chelgren, Michael Breitbrach, Jerry Behn, Brad Zaun, Randy Feenstra, Roby Smith and Democrat Sen. Joe Seng.