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Constitutional amendment on abortion advances

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A House Judiciary subcommittee voted 2-1 last week to advance a resolution giving Iowa voters a chance to amend the state constitution to specify there is no fundamental right to abortion or public funding of the procedure.

Supporters of House Study Bill 577 said the legislation is needed to correct a 2018 judicial “overreach” by the Iowa Supreme Court that “usurped” legislative authority by essentially creating a right that did not exist before the court’s 5-2 ruling to strike down an abortion limit.

The proposal, which now goes to the House Judiciary Committee, seeks an amendment prescribing language that eventually could come before Iowa voters to declare the Iowa Constitution “shall not be construed to recognize, grant or secure a right to abortion or to require the public funding of abortion.”

The measure would have to pass both the House and the Senate in exactly the same form this session and then win support of the 89th Iowa General Assembly elected in November before the measure would come before Iowa voters as early as the 2022 general election.

A similar measure, Senate Joint Resolution 21, awaits floor debate on the Senate calendar.

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