Miller-Meeks Talks Guns, Abortion At Iowa City Town Hall

US Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks speaks to a crowd of around 60 people at a town hall in Iowa City on Monday, Aug. 14, 2023. (Photo by Amie Rivers for Iowa Starting Line)

US Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, a Republican representing southeast Iowa, held a rare town hall in Iowa City on Monday evening at Iowa City West High School.

Miller-Meeks took seven questions chosen via a ticketed lottery system from the crowd of around 60 to 70 attendees.

Does not support a new assault weapons ban

In her opening remarks, Miller-Meeks, a military veteran, became emotional talking about the “failed” way that the US pulled troops out of Afghanistan. More specifically, about the 13 service members killed in a bomb attack in Kabul just days before the withdrawal.

One questioner asked why she felt so strongly about protecting military members, but not school children slaughtered in school shootings with rapid-fire guns.

“I don’t think the Second Amendment condones the murder of civilians,” the questioner said.

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But Miller-Meeks pounced on the first part of his question instead. She talked about how the Afghanistan withdrawal was a “policy decision that, from my understanding, went against recommendations from the military.”

Another man from the audience interjected to bring her back on topic: “Choosing not to ban assault weapons—that’s not a policy decision that you’ve made?”

“We had an assault weapons ban in this country that was ineffective and didn’t—which is why it was allowed to lapse,” Miller-Meeks replied, leading to boos and loud groans from the crowd.

“You may disagree. You may want to overturn,” she said, as the crowd noise continued. “But I support our constitutional right to bear arms.”

But overturning the Second Amendment, and enacting commonsense gun control measures a majority of Iowans and Americans support, are vastly different things.

While studies on whether the assault weapons ban—in place from 1994 to 2004—are mixed in terms of whether it prevented mass shootings, the number and severity of mass shootings in the US did jump dramatically after 2004. And studies have shown that banning large-capacity magazines, as well as increased licensure of firearm owners, are effective in significantly decreasing fatal mass shooting events.

In remarks to the media after the town hall, Miller-Meeks did not advocate for those policies. She said the only policies she was considering related to this were “fully enforcing the laws” and “other things we can do within the background system.”

Miller-Meeks dismisses poling on abortion support

Another questioner asked about Miller-Meeks’ support of a woman’s right to choose whether or not to have an abortion, and whether that would impact medical students deciding not to choose Iowa for OB-GYN residencies.

“Our Constitution guarantees a right to life,” she said incorrectly (that’s actually in the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution). “So one of the main functions of the federal government is to protect life. … It’s why we have law enforcement, it’s why we have military defense, and that is to protect life. And [the] secondary functions of government are to protect property.”

Miller-Meeks also said she believed Iowa’s last-in-the-nation status for number of OB-GYNs per capita was a longstanding problem, and not related to the Iowa Legislature trying to implement a total abortion ban repeatedly.

Minutes after Miller-Meeks’ remarks, Iowans for Health Liberty issued a press release criticizing the remarks. In the release, Dr. Andrea Greiner said Miller-Meeks was “going against the will of over 60% of Iowans that support safe and legal access to abortion,” referring to last year’s Iowa Poll results.

When asked after the town hall whether she considered the will of those 60% who support reproductive rights, Miller-Meeks waved away the Iowa Poll’s results.

“What I’ve seen in polls is actually very different,” Miller-Meeks said, then incorrectly asserted Democrats support “abortion at the time of birth.”

by Amie Rivers

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1 Comment on "Miller-Meeks Talks Guns, Abortion At Iowa City Town Hall"

  • The Miller-Meeks remark about abortion and polling was ridiculous. Whether one likes the results of the Iowa Poll or not, and I often don’t like the results, the I.P. is based on solid methodology and the results are valid. She had better hope that the new Iowa abortion law remains legally blocked for as long as possible. If and when it goes into effect and the real consequences begin to be reported, that won’t be good for Republican candidates. And Randy Feenstra is pushing the political envelope. His new proposed law regarding abortion and Turner syndrome is a jaw-dropper.

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