The issue of abortion has entered the political conversation in the United States multiple times in the past few months, including in Iowa.
Iowa’s Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a bill passed by the Republican-controlled state legislature in 2018, banning abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat. The law was struck down in January as violating the Iowa Constitution.
Georgia, Ohio, Louisiana and Missouri have all recently passed laws banning abortion after the detection of a fetal heartbeat. Alabama’s governor signed a law banning abortion at all points of a pregnancy, except in cases of “serious risk" to the mother’s health.
Missouri has only one licensed clinic providing abortion left in the state, and its license was set to expire Friday. A circuit court judge ruled that the clinic’s license will remain valid until a hearing Tuesday.
Democratic presidential candidates making visits to Iowa this spring are fielding questions on the topic.
Sunday, during a Fox News town hall in the state, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., was asked by an audience member what her stance on late-term abortions is.
The junior senator from New York said she is a supporter of Roe v. Wade (the 1973 Supreme Court case which established there is a constitutional right for women to have an abortion).
When asked a second time by the audience member, Gillibrand did not directly answer the question — instead saying the network hosting her town hall contributed to a false narrative, in framing the issue as “infanticide.”
Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Tex., was asked about abortion during an event he held at Iowa State’s M-Shop in April.
“What are your thoughts on the hundreds of thousands of kids that are killed from abortion every year,” the audience member said.
O’Rourke described the question as “really tough.”
“I do respect your point of view … I also feel like I owe you my candor in sharing with you since 1973 Roe v. Wade has been the law of the land, and more than anyone else, I trust a woman with the help of her doctor to make her own decisions about her own body,” O’Rourke said.
Gov. Steve Bullock, D-Mont., visited Cafe Diem in Ames Tuesday and was asked about the possibility of the license of the Missouri clinic lapsing.
“I fought back every attempt from our legislature to make health care decisions that should be made by a woman in consultation with her doctor, and her family and faith if she so desires,” Bullock said “We are 45 years past Roe v. Wade, we ought to have human beings promoting and protecting women’s health, not trying to tear it apart.”
President Donald Trump has had a number of positions on abortion over the years, from being pro-choice, to at one point in the 2016 Republican primary calling for “some form of punishment” for women who have abortions.
Trump has repeatedly made false claims on a number of issues during his presidency, including abortion.
"The mother meets with the doctor. They take care of the baby, they wrap the baby beautifully. And then the doctor and the mother determine whether or not they will execute the baby,” Trump said of late-term abortions during an April rally in Wisconsin.
Killing an infant remains illegal in the United States.
A May poll conducted by YouGov found abortion is a “very important” issue to 54% of registered voters, and “somewhat important” to a further 23%. 15% of registered voters said abortion is “not very important” of an issue to them, while 9% said the issue is unimportant to them.