D.C. Dispatch: Iowa’s delegation reflects on Roe v. Wade

By: - May 6, 2022 4:17 pm

Advocates and opponents of abortion rights display signs outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 1, 2021. Justices were hearing arguments in a Mississippi case that seeks to overturn Roe v. Wade. (Photo by Jane Norman/States Newsroom)

A draft Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade dominated the news this week. Republican lawmakers from Iowa celebrated the indication that the court may strike down federal abortion precedent while Iowa Democrats decried the possibility and called for the U.S. Senate to pass a law protecting the procedure.

Iowa’s D.C. delegation also took action on water projects, Ukraine aid, cattle price transparency and more.

Iowa’s delegation weighs in on potential Roe v. Wade overturn

Here’s what Iowa’s D.C. delegation had to say about the impending Supreme Court decision on abortion. 

Rep. Cindy Axne: “Depriving a woman of the right to make her own medical decisions is dangerous and shortsighted. We already know laws that restrict access to health care do not result in fewer abortions, but instead force women to risk their lives and seek unsafe care.” Full statement.

Rep. Ashley Hinson:

Rep. Randy Feenstra: For nearly half a century, the Roe v. Wade decision has allowed for the destruction of innocent life in America. I am incredibly encouraged that the Supreme Court appears to finally recognize the injustice this misguided decision has caused and I remain committed to protecting all life.” Full statement. 

Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks: “As an elected official, I have always voted to uphold the sanctity of life and to protect the unborn. Every life is precious and has value, and I am committed to continuing to fight for those who cannot stand up for themselves.” Full statement.

Sen. Joni Ernst: “This unprecedented leak is abhorrent, and whoever did it must be found and held accountable, and I’m glad the Court is investigating. As someone who is adamantly pro-life, I believe firmly that the Supreme Court must go through its proper and independent processes and deliberations on this case and I look forward to reviewing their final decision.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley: “I don’t think anybody should be surprised where I stand on Roe. I’ve had the same position for decades.” Read more: Grassley demurs on his role in potential Roe reversal

Grassley, Ernst push Iowa water projects

Ernst and Grassley touted Iowa provisions in the Water Resources Development Act, which passed through a Senate committee this week. The bill includes plans to update the Cedar Rapids flood system and a levee in Des Moines.

Ernst also led a measure to require public reports on water projects that are significantly over budget or behind schedule.

Ernst asks to reduce restrictions on Ukraine aid

Ernst and Sen. Chris Coons, a Delaware Democrat, introduced a resolution this week to allow U.S. food aid to Ukraine to travel more quickly.

Under current law, half of food aid needs to be shipped on a U.S. vessel with a majority-U.S. citizen crew. Ernst and Coons proposed waiving that requirement temporarily to allow more food exports to Ukraine.

“We need to take immediate action to expedite delivery of food aid to our friends and partners around the world and this temporary, narrowly crafted measure will allow the United States to flow aid faster, and save taxpayer dollars and countless lives around the world,” Ernst said.

Axne, Feenstra reintroduce cattle price transparency bill

Feenstra and Axne updated their bill to reform the cattle marketplace. The bill would create new regulations to prohibit the largest meatpacking companies from dominating the market.

“Iowa’s independent cattle producers deserve a cattle market that provides them with fair and equal footing, and this updated legislation brings us one step closer to making that reality,” Axne said in a statement.

Grassley is leading a companion bill in the Senate.

Axne packages 11 bills into ‘rural prosperity agenda’

Axne unveiled a set of rural policy priorities this week, pointing toward several bills that would  funnel federal resources into affordable housing, police, businesses and telehealth access in small towns. The package also includes proposals on broadband, cattle price transparency and biofuels.

“For years, rural Iowans have felt left behind by the federal government. It’s time to say enough is enough and to help make sure all Iowans have equal access to federal funds,” Axne said in a statement.

Senate votes to eliminate masks in Head Start facilities

Iowa schools dropped their mask requirements many weeks ago, but one federal mandate remains: children in Head Start preschool programs are required to wear face coverings. 

Grassley and Ernst voted this week to remove that mandate. The bill passed the Senate, with every Republican and a handful of Democrats voting in favor.

“After two years, the last thing we need is to continue these outdated pandemic policies that are hurting kids’ educations,” Grassley said in a statement.

The bill goes to the House of Representatives for consideration. Miller-Meeks has called for an end to the Head Start mandate.

“Now that our schools have begun in-person learning, we should not be enforcing unnecessary mask mandates on those with the least likely chance of getting severely ill from COVID-19,” Miller-Meeks said on April 21.

COVID-19 cases have trended upward in Iowa since late March, but rates do not compare to January’s spike. All but three counties had “low” transmission of the virus, according to the CDC

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Katie Akin
Katie Akin

Katie Akin is a former Iowa Capital Dispatch reporter. Katie began her career as an intern at PolitiFact, debunking viral fake news and fact-checking state and national politicians. She moved to Iowa in 2019 for a politics internship at the Des Moines Register, where she assisted with Iowa Caucus coverage, multimedia projects and the Register’s Iowa Poll. She became the Register’s retail reporter in early 2020, chronicling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Central Iowa’s restaurants and retailers.

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