Personhood amendments offered in General Assembly

Baby in WombBy Bob Eschliman


This week, a bipartisan group of legislators from both chambers of the Iowa General Assembly offered resolutions seeking an amendment to the Iowa Constitution.

House Joint Resolution 9 is authored by state Rep. Greg Heartsill (R-Melcher-Dallas). Its cosponsors are state Reps. Steven Holt (R-Denison), John Wills (R-Spirit Lake), Sandy Salmon (R-Janesville), Tedd Gassman (R-Scarville), Matt Windschitl (R-Missouri Valley), Dean Fisher (R-Garwin), Larry Sheets (R-Moulton), Terry Baxter (R-Garner), John Kooiker (R-Boyden), and John Landon (R-Ankeny).

Senate Joint Resolution 9 is authored by state Sen. Dennis Guth (R-Klemme). Its cosponsors are state Sens. Brad Zaun (R-Urbandale), Ken Rozenboom (R-Oskaloosa), Mark Chelgren (R-Ottumwa), Mark Segebart (R-Vail), David Johnson (R-Ocheyedan), Amy Sinclair (R-Allerton), Tim Kraayenbrink (R-Fort Dodge), and Joe Seng (D-Davenport).

The resolutions are identical – a requirement of a joint resolution – and proposes an amendment to the Iowa Constitution relating to the unalienable right to life of all people, regardless of their stage of development. The proposed amendment would state:


The inalienable right to life of every person at any stage of development shall be recognized and protected.


If adopted, the resolution would need to be adopted by the next General Assembly before it can be submitted to voters as a general election ballot question.

They are supported by The Family Leader and Personhood Iowa. No lobbyist groups have come out in opposition to them. Personhood Iowa released a statement yesterday explaining its support for the resolutions.

“We at Personhood Iowa fully support House Joint Resolution 9 and Senate Joint Resolution 9 to amend the Iowa Constitution to protect every person’s right to life … This amendment recognizes our state’s most basic duty to defend our most essential human right: our right to live.

“Consistent with the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, this amendment ensures that no person be deprived of their life without due process of law. It also ensures equal protection under the law for every person in Iowa, regardless of sex or size, age or ability, skin color or circumstance.

“Our rights begin when we do, and the state’s responsibility to protect our right to life begins the moment we begin. Who can disagree with the statement that every person’s life deserves to be protected? Drawing on Jeffersonian simplicity, this amendment places ‘before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent.’

“Each person’s right to life was ‘self-evident’ to America’s founders, and clearly merits protection in the State of Iowa. Therefore, we call on Iowa’s legislators to support HJR 9 and SJR 9 and ask all Iowans to encourage their elected leaders to debate and pass this necessary measure.”