All throughout the country and here in Iowa, Republican politicians this year have attempted to turn the debate around abortion access away from the fact that they will implement (or already have) abortion bans with very little to no exceptions. They have read from the same playbook, trying to instead frame Democrats’ position as the real “extreme.”
Gov. Kim Reynolds attempted this at tonight’s gubernatorial debate on Iowa Press, but the results did not work out perhaps as she intended.
Like all the other Republicans, Reynolds tried to accuse her opponent Deidre DeJear of supporting abortion up to the moment of birth and even after birth, implying that some women wait until eight and a half months into their pregnancy to decide to terminate.
Notably, Reynolds did not offer up any specific examples of women choosing an abortion in that manner. It would be difficult to do so, considering many abortions after 21 weeks (making up less than 1% of abortions) involve complications to a pregnancy that threaten the mother’s health or fetal abnormalities develop.
DeJear, on the other hand, did have a specific, personal example that she once saw first-hand.
“When I was a senior in high school, I was volunteering at one of the No Child Left Behind schools, after-school program,” DeJear explained. “I was tutoring a third grader … And as I was tutoring her, she was a growing third grader, but there came a day when she got to school and she could not button her pants.”
“And so here I was, trying to help her button her pants, and as I felt her belly, it was tight,” she continued. “And I went to my momma and said, ‘Momma, I think she’s pregnant.’ And my momma took her to the nurse’s office, come to find out, that little third grader was three months pregnant … With trying to dictate and regulate pregnancy in black and white the way that our governor chooses to do, that little girl has minimal options, if any at all, and we cannot put Iowans in those types of situations.”
“So it’s late-term abortion,” Reynolds said in response, interrupting DeJear as she started to talk about her faith. “They believe that you can abort a baby right up until the moment it’s born.”
“That’s not what you just heard from me,” DeJear said.
“Yeah, that is what you’re saying,” Reynolds shot back. “You’re saying that it’s up to that woman to decide. That is late-term abortion, that is not where Iowans are at, that is not where Americans are at.”
That was Reynolds’ instinctual response to a story of a horrific situation with a pregnant third grader—to chastise her opponent and say it’d be a late-term abortion. No mention of compassion or understanding to a woman—or in this case, a child—that would find themselves in such a difficult circumstance.
Instead, Reynolds talked about her daughter being born a month premature and babies in NICUs, again implying that women are out there actively requesting their just-born child be murdered.
“The thought of killing an eight-month-old baby, like my daughter, a month premature, killing that baby in the womb is disgusting and horrifying,” Reynolds said. “That’s extreme, that’s an extreme position.”
For her part, DeJear reiterated that she would take a much different path than Reynolds, who signed into law a six-week abortion ban that she has asked the courts to implement now that Roe v. Wade is overturned.
“As the next governor, I am not going to criminalize women, I am not going to criminalize nurses, I’m not going to criminalize doctors, women for getting access to the care that they need,” DeJear said. “…My personal belief has no space in a woman’s doctor appointment.”
by Pat Rynard
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