Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition
Tamara Scott, IFFC Lobbyist
IFFC Legislative report 3-7-17
March 3rd was the first funnel date, meaning any proposed legislation that didn’t make it through a committee is likely now dead. Most notable for the Life movement was the failure of SF 253, the Life at Conception Bill.
While it is considered the “gold standard” and certainly something Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition (IFFC) and Concerned Women for America (CWA) would like to see passed. Even with passage, many proponents of the bill admit the bill alone would likely not stop abortion though it would have been a great start by changing the Iowa code to recognize life begins at conception is to be protected by the state of Iowa and U.S. Constitution.
This is why IFFC and CWA supported SF 253, plus several other pro-life measures that we believe would have strengthened it and possibly hastened the end of abortion in Iowa. As it is, some of those bills did make it through committee and/or passed one chamber.
SF 2 – has passed the full Senate and awaits action in the House. It redirects taxpayer dollars to a greater number of non-abortion clinics offering more healthcare services in more locations across the state by defunding Planned Parenthood and abortion providers.
SF 53 – is now eligible for floor debate in the Senate. Often referred to as a 20-week ban, it in no way recognizes the right to an abortion, but prohibits abortion post-20 weeks.
While it’s unfortunate and disappointing that Life at Conception – the first legislative priority listed in the state platform of the Republican Party – didn’t make it to a Republican controlled Senate where it should have passed; the pro-life movement is alive, growing, and has much work yet to do – some within our own movement.
One of the reasons SF 253 may have failed could be that legislators who might have otherwise been supportive in helping the Bill make it through the process may have felt overwhelmed, even ambushed by angry and accusatory messages from supposed pro-life supporters.
Pro-life legislators who staked political capital on SF 253 sadly received angry messages for not doing enough or being successful. These messages are counterproductive and frankly, not a good witness for Christians.
We’ve been blessed to increase the number of strong pro-life legislators, we need to stand with them in work, success, and even failed attempts.
The good news is, because Republicans are in control, we still have both SF 2 and SF 53 which are good pro-life bills and will help save lives.
IFFC encourages our friends and members to attend local forums, town halls, and coffees with elected officials. Follow up with a polite call, email, or speak with legislators to stand for life. Give them the bill number, a one-line description and a specific request for action to either support it or help it through the committee process if applicable. Thank every legislator for their time away from family and job to serve. Edify and encourage them to do the right thing, but understand threats seldom work.
So STAND FOR LIFE, but SHINE FOR CHRIST when you do with a kind, direct if necessary, but always civil tone.
A note of thanks and gratitude:
IFFC wishes to thank Senator Brad Zaun 18-R, Senator Jason Schultz 9-R, Senator Jake Chapman 10-R for their heavy lift with SF 253. Their leadership was evident. They withstood the fury and attacks from opponents, and unfortunately, some from proponents. We and our members will look forward to working with them to further the cause however possible yet this year and in the future.
IFFC also wishes to thank other pro-life Senators who either submitted pro-life legislation or helped move pro-life bills forward like Senator Mark Chelgren 41-R who offered SF 54 and SF 26, Senator Mark Segebart 6-R, who chaired the committee to help pass SF 53, and Senator Amy Sinclair 14-R who helped lead the charge to defund PPH in the Senate. Not to mention the many other pro-life legislators in the Senate.
Please consider sending legislators a note of thanks at either their legislative email addresses email@example.com or by mail to Honorable (name), Iowa Senate or Iowa House, Iowa State Capitol, Des Moines, Iowa 50319.