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March 20th, 2011

Do As I Say Not As I Do?

By Craig Robinson

On Friday afternoon, Tamara Scott, the leader of the Iowa branch of Concerned Women of America, was the guest host of WHO Radio’s afternoon drive-time show.  One of Scott’s guests was State Representative Kim Pearson, who was there to talk about House File 5, a bill that would ban abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy.

During the interview, Rep. Pearson said that TheIowaRepublican.com had repeatedly thrown her and two other colleagues “under the bus” for opposing the bill because House File 5 doesn’t ban all abortions.

It’s unfortunate that Pearson feels that this website has thrown her under the bus. All TheIowaRepublican.com has done is tell Iowans what is going on regarding a bill that is aimed at preventing a known late-term abortionist out of the state.

If this website has misconstrued Pearson’s position on the bill or misreported anything in regards to this situation, TheIowaRepublican.com would gladly correct the error.  If she doesn’t like having to explain her position and the rationale of why she is blocking a bill that most pro-life organizations have made a priority, that’s her own problem.

What was interesting about the interview is that Scott also supports the passage of House File 5, but instead of discussing the issue and the need for the bill, she was sympathetic to Pearson, and said that she understood Pearson’s position.  Scott’s desire to maintain friendships is admirable, but the situation also showcased why Iowa’s pro-life and pro-family organizations have not experienced many successes over the past decade.

For the sake of a friendly radio interview, Scott basically contradicted everything she has previously said about the bill.  In an action alert from CWA on February 24th, Scott wrote, “While we work to bring an end to abortion, we understand the journey there, unfortunately, is often incremental. It is the incremental gain over the last several years that has resulted in a new majority of Americans being pro-life bringing the movement continually closer to the day we can abolish abortion completely.”

Scott’s action alert also contained some strong language about legislators like Pearson who have put up unnecessary roadblocks.  “Please do not be confused or deceived by various groups asking you to work against House File 5 because it ‘isn’t pro-life enough.’ CWA is also working to pass HF 153, the life at conception bill, even though its passage is slim. For now, we must work to pass House File 5 in an effort to save a few until we can save them all.”

The action alert ended with a plea for people to call their State Representatives to ask them help House File 5 get though the Government Oversight Committee and the Iowa House.  Scott then urged her supporters to ask their legislator a simple question, “Yes or no; will you stop late term abortions?”

The question that begs to be asked is, why wasn’t Scott willing to ask Rep. Pearson the same simple question that she was suggesting the supporters of her organization ask their own legislators?

I have personally taken a lot of grief for calling out Pearson and Rep. Glen Massie, who has also helped block House File 5 in the Human Resources Committee.  To be frank, the only thing that I’ve done differently than the various pro-life groups who support House File 5 have done is let people know who is actually preventing the bill from being passed.

To be honest, I don’t understand why these pro-life organizations send out action alerts to their members if they are not going to try to apply pressure to the legislators who actually need some encouragement.  Only one group, the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition sent something out that actually explained it was Pearson and Massie who were blocking the bill.  That group actually sent out an article from TheIowaRepublican.com, and has since apologized.

I think this entire debate needs some perspective.  With Republicans having 60 seats in the Iowa House and a Speaker who is willing to expend a little political capital to move a couple pro-life bills from the Human Resources Committee to the funnel-proof Government Oversight Committee, there is no doubt that House File 5 will actually pass in the House.  The only thing to really be concerned about is whether there be enough time to lobby the Democrat controlled Senate to take up the bill.

In some ways, we have seen this scenario before.  In 2004, faced with the threat that gay marriage could one day be legalized in Iowa, Republicans in the House passed a marriage amendment to the Iowa Constitution. The Senate, which had a 29 to 21 seat Republican majority, saw the marriage amendment fail when four Republicans, Maggie Tinsman, Mary Lundby, Don Redfern, and Doug Shull voted against it.

Iowa’s pro-family groups knew that Tinsman, Lundby, and Redfern were not supportive of the amendment, but were caught off guard when Shull voted no.  After the vote failed, these groups were furious with then Senate Majority Leader Stewart Iverson for not doing more to find the necessary votes to pass the amendment.  Now, almost a decade later, these groups are giving certain legislators who oppose their legislative priorities a pass so long as they are opposed to the bill for the right reasons.

I realize that none of the four senators who voted against the marriage amendment in 2004 did so because they felt a constitutional amendment was unnecessary because the law of nature and the law of nature’s God doesn’t support the concept of gay marriage, but what if that were the case?  Should a person that holds that position not be lobbied?  Should they not be encouraged to support the amendment?

If organizations like Concerned Women of America are not going to lobby Pearson and Massie and hold them accountable on House File 5, then what happens down the road with a legislator who states he or she will not support a piece of pro-life legislation, like statistical reporting or a woman’s right to know, because those initiatives would not be necessary if all abortions were illegal?  Will they receive the same hands-off treatment as Pearson and Massie, or will there be yet another standard?

Just like in 2004, there is a real threat that needs legislative action.  Unfortunately, the legislative solution has been bogged down in the Iowa House for months because a bill that would easily pass on the floor of the house has been held captive by pro-life legislators who will only support legislation that outlaws all abortions.

Iowa’s pro-life and pro-family organizations are also culpable because none of them have shown a willingness to actually name the legislators who are impeding this legislation from passing.  If they are not willing to communicate to their members who is actually blocking a bill, what service to they actually provide?


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About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of TheIowaRepublican.com, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country. Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and TheIowaRepublican.com as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states. Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site, TheIowaRepublcian.com. Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing. Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.




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