Opinion | Democrats need to get mad

Democrats must to ramp up their rhetoric at a crucial time for abortion rights.


Gabby Drees

Iowa state representative Christina Bohannan speaks at a fundraising event for democratic candidates Liz Mathis and Christina Bohannan at the Sutliff Farm & Cider House in Lisbon, Iowa. Mathis is pursuing a seat in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District in the U.S. House while Bohannan is pursuing a seat in Iowa’s 1st Congressional District in the U.S. House. Bohannan and Mathis spoke about polarization in politics, education, abortion rights, and healthcare at the event. “I’ve always thought that debate and compromise make us better and stronger as a country,” Bohannan said. “But what we have right now is not debate and compromise. It’s extremism and chaos.”

Peyton Downing, Opinions Columnist

It has been over two months since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, yet some Iowa Democrats refuse to turn up the heat of their rhetoric.

The decision of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overruled the decision reached in Roe v. Wade on June 24, which guaranteed national protection for abortion.

Reproductive freedom either exists or it does not — there is no compromise. Democrats need to act to ensure that abortions remain safe and available.

Since the Supreme Court’s decision, the initial wave of public outcry has died down. Democrats in Iowa have been less than eager to engage in hard politicking.

Christina Bohannan is a Democrat running for Congress in Iowa’s 1st Congressional District.

“As I’ve been talking to a lot of people, Democrats, Independents, Republicans, a lot of us agree on the things that we need to do. The problem is that extreme politics are getting in our way,” Bohannan said on Sept. 3 campaign event. “I’ve always thought that debate and that compromise make us better and stronger as a country. But what we have right now is not debate and compromise.”

Bohannan reaffirms the belief that compromise, and negotiation, is the best way forward, but reproductive rights are non-negotiable.

Republicans claim to be pro-life in their protection of fetal lives but fail to care for the health of mothers. Even mothers who are attempting to have children may require having an abortion due to medical complications.

Ectopic pregnancies occur when a fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus. While it can implant in any number of places inside a womb, the result is the same — a pregnancy that has no chance of success and can cause serious injury or even kill the mother.

But Iowa Republicans want to ban the treatment to ensure women do not die from this or any other complication. Back when the 2018 fetal heartbeat bill was passed, multiple Republicans commented that they wanted to pass the abortion ban without any exceptions, whether it be for rape, incest, or health.

This is the explicit outcome of Republican policies, but Democrats so often fail to lay out the grim truth of the matter. When they speak on the topic of reproductive rights, they speak in abstract notions of freedom and personal choice rather than the harsh reality we all live in.

Iowans are majority in favor of the pro-choice position. Polling done by Selzer & Co found that 57 percent of Iowans believe that abortions should be legal in most, if not all cases.

Republicans know this — that’s why they’re going quiet on the issue.

Republican candidates across the nation — including Sen. Zach Nunn, who is running for Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District — are attempting to distance themselves from their radical beliefs regarding abortion.

Their plan is obvious: stay quiet on contentious issues and then enact their unpopular policy preferences once they’re in office.

With all of this on the line, my only request to the Democrat Party is to wake up and get real. Republicans don’t care about the truth behind their positions. The party only wants its message to reach their base and gets them to vote.

It’s nice to hear that Democrats will stand for abortion rights, but that’s not getting the base inspired. Stiff, formal responses will not get people to stand out in voting lines for hours.

What is needed is fire, passion—any form of emotion that conveys just how horrific the outcomes will be if Republicans get their wishes. It is not enough to simply state what actions you want to take.

Constituents need to know that you are personally, truly invested in seeing through what you are campaigning on.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.