Vote for reproductive rights in Iowa


View of the State Capitol building in Des Moines, Iowa, which houses the Iowa General Assembly.

Mandi Nichols, Guest Columnist

It’s been a little over four months since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Every day since has brought more horrifying results, with near-total abortion bans now in place in 13 states. 

Miscarriages are being criminalized as well, often victimizing already traumatized individuals. As a community organizer, I saw a spark of fury in June that made mobilization easy. However, as the initial shock of the Scotus decision wears off, I’m seeing numbers decline at actions and rallies — but the fight isn’t over, and Nov. 8 is a vital part of it.  

Perhaps more than ever, we need people in office who will protect our freedoms. The only reason Iowa has not had the strictest abortion ban in the country since 2018 is because of legal protections that have since been removed at the federal level.  

In 2020, our legislature took the first step to remove them at the state level by proposing and passing an amendment to the Iowa constitution that would say, “This Constitution does not recognize, grant, or secure a right to abortion.” Last June, our courts reversed decisions that had previously determined that the right to abortion was implied by the Iowa constitution.

The next step towards a constitutional amendment denying that right is for the proposal to pass again before the end of the 2023 legislative session, which it is expected to do. With the loss of federal protections, who we have sitting in local seat matters.  

We cannot allow our basic freedoms and health protections to be taken from us. It is far past time to come together and say “enough.” Every single person who votes for those who will protect our rights, who supports local clinics, who participates in reproductive rights events, who further the conversation, and who places pressure on our legislators, makes a difference. We cannot sit silently and hope.   

We need to disrupt and unseat officials who are proposing and supporting abortion barriers and bans, such as Gov. Kim Reynolds. There are no limits on abortion that are acceptable. We need to push back against everyone that is attempted, and we need to do it hard.

When the state makes something conditional, it allows a select few to impose their moral opinions on others. Policymakers picking and choosing when it is and is not OK for someone to have a medical procedure leads to inequities, and this country is already riddled with them.  

The United States has the highest known maternal mortality rate of any “developed nation,” and that rate is around four times higher for those who are Black and two times higher for those who are indigenous than those who are white. Limited abortion access disproportionately affects BIPOC and low-income individuals and families. 

We need to improve these issues, keep abortion legal and improve its accessibility. We do that by supporting abortion access funds, pro-choice candidates and clinics that provide reproductive health services, by acknowledging that abortion is not an isolated issue and recognizing the intersectionality of reproductive justice, bodily autonomy, disability justice, racial and class disparities, health care equity and LGBTQ rights.  

Many of the freedoms that were won by civil rights movements of the past are under attack. Both in Iowa and nationally, the number of anti-LGBTQ bills introduced continues to increase each legislative session. Now, our right to abortion, a vital health care need, is also being threatened. 

Together I do believe we can stop these attacks on our freedoms – history is full of such moments. But, as history shows us, we have to start a movement. 

We need to be loud, persistent, understand how they are connected and not give up on all these issues. We need to write, call and take coordinated and targeted steps that cause interruption, force attention, create discomfort and we need record-breaking numbers at the polls. That is how rights are won and how they are always fought for.