DES MOINES, Iowa — After Vice President Kamala Harris came to Des Moines last week to speak about abortion access, Iowa House Democrats unveiled their reproductive freedom package on Monday.
It’s part of the ‘People Over Politics’ plan and it includes four main changes House Democrats want to see: a constitutional amendment to guarantee the right to an abortion; making birth control pills accessible through a pharmacist without a prescription; expanding Medicaid postpartum coverage out to 12 months; and restoring family planning programs under Medicaid.
The constitutional amendment comes from the Iowa Supreme Court’s decision last year.
“We believe that Iowans deserve to know that their constitution exists to grant rights, not take them away. And so that’s why we are going to introduce this constitutional amendment,” said House Minority Leader Jennifer Konfrst, (D), Windsor Heights.
While the amendment is unlucky to pass this session with a republican trifecta at the statehouse, the last three policy points could be attached to other pieces of legislation.
“The governor’s bill actually has that in it. It might be a little different than our bill, but it has some similar parts in it in terms of having a pharmacist supply or be able to provide self-administered birth control pills. So three out of the four proposals could be part of that, absolutely,” said State Representative Beth Wessel-Kroeschell, (D), District 49, Ames.
House Democrats plan to bring up both changes to those Medicaid programs during the debate of the Governor’s bill, which looks at pregnancy resources in the state. The bill also includes the language of over-the-counter birth control. Senate Republicans just passed a bill last week that allows for the purchase of birth control without a prescription. The bill will need to be passed out of the House for the governor to sign. House Democrats say that they are open to voting for a bill that includes this language.
“We always want to make sure we’re reading the full legislation, but we would be happy to welcome Republicans to the cause of over-the-counter birth control that we’ve been fighting for a very long time.”