Opinion | Right-wing policy is Iowa’s worst enemy

Right-wing policy will push young people away from Iowa.


Gabby Drees

Protesters listen to a speaker at a pro-abortion rights protest at the University of Iowa’s Pentacrest on Friday, June 24, 2022. Around 350 people attended the protest.

Sophia Meador, Opinions Editor

All I want for Christmas is … reproductive freedom.

Sadly, the midterm elections diminished any opportunity for reproductive freedom for birthing people in Iowa. Gov. Kim Reynolds intends to reinstate the fetal heartbeat bill, which would ban access to abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected — usually within six weeks of pregnancy.

The right-wing push against reproductive freedom will not only affect the millions of birthing people in Iowa. The right-wing policy agenda will drive more young people out of Iowa.

In the late ‘70s and ‘80s, the moral majority made it their mission to oppose reproductive freedom and LGBTQ rights. While the moral majority movement died off in the ‘80s, their rhetoric takes on a new form in the Republican party today.

According to AP Votecast, the only age group voting Republican by majority are adults 65 and older. The politics of baby boomers and Gen X have not been passed down to the majority of Gen Z.

In survey by Intelligent.com, 1,000 college students were surveyed in states where abortion access is illegal or will soon be illegal. The study found 20 percent of students plan to transfer to colleges in states where abortion is legal, and 25 percent are considering doing so.

In fact, the majority of young adults support access to abortion. According to Pew Research, 74 percent of adults under 30 say abortion should be generally legal, and that includes 30 percent of respondents who say abortion should be legal in all cases without exception.

Iowa is already facing a population decline. According to United Van Lines, more people are moving out of Iowa than moving in. In a poll conducted by Selzer & Co., 34 percent of Iowans ages 45 and younger are likely to consider leaving the state.

Like it or not, Iowa will not be better once the “libs” are gone.

Along with COVID-19, the great resignation has shown us the negative impacts of labor shortage: inflation, supply-chain shortages, and extended wait times. This will only get worse if young college graduates and workers leave the state.

On this path, Iowa can expect a worsening teacher shortage that will impact the future of your children and grandchildren’s education. Likewise, fewer doctors and nurses in hospitals will only contribute to Iowa’s lack of health care options.

A shortage of educated workers would impact every job industry in Iowa. While right-wing policy is not the only reason young people don’t want to live in Iowa, it certainly doesn’t help.

People — especially young people — want to live in a state where they have access to expansive health care, quality public education, good infrastructure, and a growing economy. We want a state government that supports dignity and respect. Iowa simply does not provide that anymore.

I look forward to one day birthing children of my own. When that time comes, I intend to raise my children in a state where they have bodily autonomy. On this trajectory, I would not raise my children in Iowa.

I am not at all against pro-life beliefs and values. What you choose to believe is your own liberty. But you don’t have the liberty to impose your beliefs on others’ freedom. You can be pro-life and accept that other peoples’ bodily autonomy is not at your discretion.

Reproductive freedom is not the only issue Iowa is getting wrong. The limitless access to firearms, excessive parental choice in schools, and transphobic rhetoric does not make young individuals like myself want to plant roots in the state.

I have lived in Iowa my whole life. While I’m proud of my upbringing in the state, I am disappointed with where we are going. Frankly, it doesn’t seem like “Iowa nice” applies to us anymore.

Iowa needs to do better. It’s time we elect people who will govern for the future.

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.