Both of Iowa’s U.S. Senators, as expected, joined with their Republican colleagues in defeating the bill Democrats sponsored to guarantee access to abortion nationwide.
“This legislation is being discussed for political purposes,” Senator Chuck Grassley said on the Senate floor earlier today, “and we’re wasting time on this issue because we could be spending time on things that people want.”
Iowa’s other Republican Senator, Joni Ernst, did not speak during debate. The Washington Post has reported Ernst will introduce a bill in the Senate to ban abortions after the sixth week of a pregnancy. Grassley has said in interviews with Iowa reporters he will not comment on a nationwide abortion ban until after the U.S. Supreme Court issues its final ruling.
During remarks on the Senate floor today, this is how Grassley described his approach to the issue: “Let me be clear: abortion should not be promoted as a default contraception and family planning tool. Let’s have a productive discussion on what can be done to support women and support. It’s important to be open with our colleagues and peers, but we must unit to protect life because every single life is precious.”
Grassley said the bill Democrats were offering would invalidate current state laws that regulate abortions.
“It would allow health care workers to determine when a life is viable which will lead, then, to inconsistent practices across the country,” Grassley said, “and endanger the lives of mothers everywhere.”
The U.S. Senate is evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats and the outcome of today’s vote was expected, since there weren’t 60 senators willing to allow a vote on the bill. Abby Finkenauer, one of the Democrats running for a chance to face Grassley in the November election, said this vote shows why Democrats need to win more seats in the U.S. Senate. Mike Franken, who is also competing for the Iowa Democratic Party’s U.S. Senate nomination, said Grassley has “consistently…voted to take rights away from women.”