Reproductive Freedom Isn’t Just a Buzzword

Iowans speak up about effects of Republican’s extreme proposals

by Rita Hart, Chair of the Iowa Democratic Party

Read Rita’s Column in the Times-Republican, linked here.

Sara Carspecken, a registered nurse in Fort Dodge, has been working in prenatal and postpartum care for more than 14 years. 

In those years, Sara has worked with women who struggle financially, who have a history of substance abuse, domestic abuse, and who are seeking mental health care. 

Sara told me that her many years of work has taught her that every woman’s experience of finding out they are pregnant is unique, and that she has met women who want to be pregnant, who don’t want to be pregnant, who have dealt with fetal anomalies, with postpartum depression, and more.

Each of those experiences have led women to different choices. 

“Choice is essential to reproductive health which is essential to the whole picture of women’s health,” Sara said. “When politicians pursue a religious ideology that limits women instead of listening to medical providers, it will never end well for women. Never.”

I couldn’t agree more.

A majority of Iowans – 60% – , like Sara, favor legal abortion and agree that women should have the freedom to make their own medical decisions.

Despite what Iowans want, Iowa Republicans have spent this legislative session focused on stripping away women’s rights and freedoms. In fact, they’ve gone so far as to admit that IVF is on the chopping block.

Earlier this session Iowa Republicans introduced their “personhood” bill. This bill is the exact same bill they voted for in 2019 before they were called out for the implications the bill would have on IVF. Luckily for Iowans, they were forced to put this year’s “personhood” bill on the back-burner after Iowans showed up in force to tell them just how unpopular their bill was.

“People have made a mistake if they think that they can just start fertilizing and then freezing embryos in a lab and run a business doing that and have no legal, ethical or moral scrutiny of what they’re doing,” said Iowa GOP Attorney Alan Ostergren. 

Democrats in the Iowa legislature are actually listening to their constituents, so they know how bad these bills are for Iowans. That’s why IDP is working to lift up the stories of regular Iowans across the state— stories like Sara’s — and hold Republicans accountable for their extreme views in the process.

Another story we’ve heard is that of Jane Freeman, who, like many Iowa women, told IDP that she hasn’t had any luck finding OBGYNs in Iowa — largely thanks to the extreme laws that Republicans have, and continue to, push — so she’s had to travel out-of-state for care. 

Thanks to Republican efforts to whittle down Reproductive Freedom in Iowa, Iowa now only has 3.3 OBGYN providers for every 10,000 Iowa women — the lowest number of providers per capita of any state in the country.

The Iowa Democrats understand that these extremist laws don’t help anyone. They tie the hands of doctors, and they try to force Iowa women into making decisions that aren’t their best options. These extremist bills affect women and their families across the state.

The stakes of this election are incredibly high, and Republicans have made that extremely evident this legislative session. We need your help to ensure voters understand what is at stake. To ensure they understand that reproductive freedom isn’t a buzzword, and that it is a right that is critical for everyday Iowans.

That’s why we’re asking women and families across the state to speak up and share their stories with their friends and with their neighbors to make sure that everyone knows the consequences of their vote — or what could happen if they don’t — this November.