The Pro-Life Battle Needs Your Help
If you walk by my desk at the Capitol, you will see two 12 week old baby models. I have brought the babies out during many discussions here at the capitol. I feel the issue of abortion is not being discussed as it should in our culture and in our churches.
When was the last time people in your church were inspired to do something about decreasing abortions in our state? When was the last time you remember a sermon taught on the subject? Do our pastors care more about not offending people than teaching on this issue? When was the last time you spoke with a friend or family member about abortion?
Pro-life legislators need your help to reduce and end abortions in the state. We have had no response to a bill we passed last week in the Iowa House. The House passed HF 573, a bill requiring an ultrasound with every abortion in the state of Iowa. Several states have legislation much like HF 573, so this is not unusual and has stood up to judicial review. What is interesting about the bill is, from what I am told of the abortion procedure, it doesn’t change anything in standard abortion procedure, except requiring the doctor let the patient see the ultrasound and hear the heartbeat. That’s all; the woman’s rights are not violated in any way. The bill simply gives more information to a patient having an abortion. This is such a noninvasive, simple way to change hearts and minds.
I wrote this bill because I believe the ultrasound is the best strategy the pro-life community has in reducing abortions in our state.
I would contend that pro-life strategies up to this point have been ineffective. Don’t get me wrong, there are some in the pro-life community fighting every day and I commend them. I've worked with teens and college age kids for 20 years and I have found there is no entity telling them abortion is wrong, other than a billboard or a lone farmer’s homemade sign. If churches even breach the subject, it's under the guise of helping a crisis pregnancy center. No preacher, no teacher, no adults ever talk about it, except maybe in an election year when it comes up as an ancillary political issue.
When Christians decide to engage they can be a powerful force. Here at the Capitol I receive more emails about fantasy sports wagering then I do about abortion issues. I see groups here lobbying for causes like unions and eminent domain issues, or education funding, and breast cancer awareness. All of them are well organized with convincing t-shirts, talking points, sound systems, organizers and strategies. I’ve seen no one fighting for the unborn.
The one place I see ultrasound and life issues discussed most is when young people start to have babies. With today's technology advancements, many women, not only get a regular ultrasound, but also a 3D image ultrasound or video. For instance, the heartbeat can be seen and heard as early as the sixth week of pregnancy. After receiving the ultrasound images or videos, women tell their friends and share it via social media and the truth of their pregnancy spreads.
The science of the ultrasound is changing the course of the pro-life movement! That is why abortion proponents and providers hate this bill so much. They know that this technology is the single best tool to stop abortions. When a young mother sees the baby and hears the heartbeat, lives are saved.
If you have never seen or been part of an ultrasound, it is really quite amazing. I’ve been at the birth of my three kids and I have been a part of the ultrasound viewing of several of my grandchildren. Viewing the ultrasound is almost as emotional and exciting as a birth! It’s truly a gift God has given us and the pro-life community to help proclaim life!
The time to engage is now. Naysayers and even some pro-life supporters, here at the Capitol, have already given up on the bill. They say the democrat-controlled Iowa Senate will never pass the bill. Well, I still believe it can be done and I don’t plan on giving up!
So, would you like to join me in the fight to save lives in Iowa? Here are some things you can do:
- Ask your pastor to speak out about abortion with a truthful yet caring message. Don’t let them give up on the issue. Abortion is the civil rights issue of our century. The controversy will not go away until we, as a country, decide where life begins.
- Write your legislator, specifically your Iowa Senator; ask them to pass HF 573. https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislators/senate
- Two key senators are blocking the bill in the Iowa Senate, write them several times.
- Organize a group of like-minded friends and come to Capitol with t-shirts, signs, and talking points. You then can ask to talk to legislators, but be courteous.
- Pray for women in these tough situations.
- Give dollars to crisis pregnancy and non-profits who help the under resourced of our culture.
- Talk about the issue more.
- Show your ultrasound pictures if you have any.
- If you are pregnant, find out your baby’s gender and name the baby while still in the womb. This could become a trend that would draw attention to unborn babies.
- Vote pro-life, and/or demand your legislator honestly consider when a life begins.
- Ask your favorite issue oriented lobbyist group to organize a rally at the Capitol.
Let’s re-engage in the pro-life effort!
The Iowa House of Representatives passed a bill this week allowing Uber and other electronic ride-sharing services to operate legally throughout the state. The vote was 95-5. The bill would establish uniform insurance requirements for ride-sharing companies throughout the state, set up requirements for drivers and provide consumer protections. Ride-sharing services operate through a cellphone app where users can request a ride from a driver registered through a company, such as Uber or another ride-sharing service. The app then alerts an available driver, who can accept the request. The passenger pays for the ride with a valid credit card through the app, with no cash exchanged.
The House bill would also require a company to have insurance for its drivers between the time the driver turns on the application until they turn it off. During the “app-on” stage, when a driver has the application on but has no passenger in the vehicle, the company must provide insurance for the driver. While the passenger is in the vehicle, the bill would raise the minimum insurance requirements.
The House bill, like other cities and states, is favoring the term “transportation network companies” (or “TNCs”) to classify Uber and its competitors like Lyft and Sidecar apart from cab, limousine or chauffer services. A TNC is defined as a service that does not own vehicles or employ drivers but relies on software to connect passengers with drivers. The bill now goes to the Democrat-controlled Senate, where it needs to win at least committee approval before the close of next week to remain eligible to become law.
Firework Sales in Iowa
This week the House Ways and Means Committee passed House Study Bill 161 out of committee with a vote of 15-10. The bill provides for the legal sale and use of novelties and consumer fireworks within Iowa.
Currently, it is a simple misdemeanor to sell or use fireworks in the state of Iowa. However, there is currently a process by which a permit can be granted by a County Board or the DNR for a professional fireworks display. The current definition of fireworks (requiring such a permit) includes everything from traditional fireworks to firecrackers and roman candles.
This bill maintains the current permitting process for display fireworks but provides a new process for consumer fireworks. In the bill, two classes of consumer fireworks are defined. Retailers who devote 50 percent or more of their retail space to first-class consumer fireworks sales will pay a fee of $400. Retailers who devote less than 50 percent pay a fee of $200. Community groups who sell first-class consumer fireworks are required to pay an annual fee of $200. The bill requires retailers or community groups who only sell second-class consumer fireworks to pay an annual fee of $25.
The bill provides that consumer fireworks can be sold at permanent buildings year-round and in temporary structures from June 13 to July 11 annually. It also provides that consumer fireworks can only be sold to individuals that are 18 years or older and can be used only between 9am and 10pm—except on Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, New Year’s Eve, and weekend days near these holidays. On these specific days, consumer fireworks are allowed between 9am and 12:30am the following day.
House Study Bill 161 allows a county board of supervisors to adopt a resolution to suspend the use of display fireworks (but not consumer fireworks) based on public safety. Additionally, a city council may by resolution suspend the use of consumer fireworks, display fireworks, or novelties based on public safety.
The effective date of the bill is June 1, 2015. House Study Bill 161 now moves to the house floor for further consideration.