The Iowa Republican Party has begun a telephone campaign to pressure the Democratic leader of the Iowa Senate to schedule Senate debate on a bill that would ban abortions after the 20th week of a pregnancy.
Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal is from Council Bluffs, the city a doctor from Nebraska has identified as the future site of a clinic that would offer late-term abortions. Residents in Council Bluffs are now receiving a recorded telephone message from the Iowa G.O.P.
Here’s the opening sentence: “Without immediate action from our senator, Mike Gronstal, a late-term abortionist will call our community home and make Council Bluffs the late-term abortion capitol of the Midwest.”
On Tuesday Gronstal said he supports efforts in his community to keep Dr. LeRoy Carhart out of Council Bluffs, but Gronstal also said he believes women have the right to make a decision about getting an abortion “without interference of politicians.” The Iowa G.O.P. is accusing Gronstal of “hiding” behind senate procedures and the 40-second recorded phone message urges Council Bluffs residents to call Gronstal at the statehouse in Des Moines.
“Only Mike Gronstal stands in the way of a bipartisan move to force a vote in the Iowa Senate to stop this abortionist and save our community,” according to the woman’s voice in the recorded message.
The leader of the Iowa Democratic Party calls the effort “shameful.”
“Iowa Republicans have made it perfectly clear that they’re willing to sacrifice a woman’s health in a desperate attempt to lay the groundwork for the 2012 election,” Iowa Democratic Party chairwoman Sue Dvorsky said in a written statement. “It’s shameful that they are willing to exploit women at one of the most vulnerable points in their life: at a time when they are experiencing pregnancies that have gone tragically wrong. By paying to bombard the citizens of Council Bluffs, Republicans are revealing their true motives; attempting to win elections at all costs.”
On Tuesday, two Democratic senators joined the 24 Republicans in the Iowa Senate to bring the bill out of a senate committee where it had stalled, making the abortion ban eligible for senate debate. However, Gronstal has sole authority in the senate to bring bills up for debate. Gronstal has said for months he would not block debate on the bill if the legislation cleared a senate committee.
(This story was updated at 2:29 p.m.)