Support for Abortion Amendment Dips
Fewer than one-third of Iowans now support the Legislature's push for an amendment that says the state constitution does not secure a right to abortion, according to a new Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll. Support for the proposal has dipped slightly from 33% last spring to 31% this year, the poll found. The opposition has also risen, with 58% of Iowans now saying they're opposed, up from 54% a year ago. The remaining 11% of respondents are not sure.
The Republican-controlled Iowa Legislature is working this year to approve the amendment. Those who support a legal right to abortion oppose the amendment, saying it could lead to extreme abortion restrictions.
Iowa public health data shows that the state's positivity rate, hospitalizations, and COVID-19 patients in intensive care are trending upward. Some health experts feared spring weather, and the belief that the coronavirus pandemic is waning would lead people to let down their guard, driving up virus activity. Iowa reported 641 new confirmed positive cases and six additional deaths on Thursday, increasing the death toll to 5,689. Hospitalizations rose to 207 after they had declined to under 200 in late February. The state has delivered 1.37 million doses, and more than 877,000 people have received at least one dose. Still, just 16.8% of the state's total population has been fully vaccinated.
Ambitious Republicans are starting to make moves in Iowa, long a proving ground for future presidents. Their first step is finding out whether activists there have gotten over the last one. Former President Donald Trump remains a hulking presence in Iowa, where he won twice by healthy margins. He's hinted he'll run again, and his false claims that the last election was stolen still dominate some Republican circles. But several potential 2024 GOP presidential candidates have plans for trips to Iowa and other early nominating states this spring. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke at a breakfast meeting in Urbandale to The Westside Conservative Club.
The Iowa House has passed a bipartisan bill that would allow some Iowans to have nonviolent felony convictions cleared from their record. The bill sets out several requirements for an expungement, including paying all court costs, fines, and restitution. Iowans can qualify to have their record cleared ten years after completing their sentence.
Iowans who have their felony conviction expunged would also regain their right to own a gun. The bill now goes to the Senate.