The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa on November 6, 2005 · Page 122
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The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa · Page 122

Des Moines, Iowa
Issue Date:
Sunday, November 6, 2005
Page 122
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THE FIRST AMENDMENT Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. Des fllotncu Sunbatj Register CAROL HUNTER, Editorial Page Editor, 51 5-284-8020e-mail: ARTS BOOKS OP GC November 6, 2005 The Register's Editorial OP MON Remember why abortion rights matter This is a glimpse of Iowa when state law prohibited abortion except to save a pregnant woman's life: About once a month the victim of a botched abortion struggled, hemorrhaging, into Broadlawns Polk County Hospital, reported the Register in 1968. And from September 1969 to December 1971, 2,558 Iowa women were referred out of state for abortions, said the Rev. David Hykes of the Iowa Clergy Consultation Service in a Register article shortly before the 1973 Roe vs. Wade ruling. They ranged in age from 11 to 50. Then the U.S. Supreme Court declared a Texas anti-abortion law unconstitutional. No state could continue to outlaw abortioa The right of privacy "is broad enough to encompass a woman's decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy," wrote Justice Harry Blackmua Now, the issue of abortion looms larger before the nation than it has since 1973. Some Americans hope and others fear that the nomination of Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. to the high court will further erode or even reverse Roe. So it's worth recalling what it was like before Roe. It's a reminder why it's so important that women have the right to choose whether to have a child Abortion is never a good option, but sometimes it's the best option under difficult circumstances. And until the point when a fetus can survive outside the womb, it's not the role of government to decide. In Iowa, citizens have even more reason to pay attention. It once again could be left up to each state to legalize or criminalize abortioa So the governor Iowans elect next November could be the last line of defense against Iowa women losing their abortion rights. In the early 1970s, Iowa women traveled to get abortions in New York and other states where it was legal. The women "tend to be middle-class white people" and arrange their abortions through Planned Parenthood of Iowa and the Iowa Clergy Coasulta-tion Service, said the Rev. Robert Webber, director of Planned Parenthood, in a 1970 Register and Tribune article. In Des Moines, "It's a slow day that we don't have 10 women come in ' seeking help." What stands out when looking through the newspaper's archives is that pastors and doctors were far more willing then than now to speak out for abortion rights. The Clinton County Medical Society in 1970 passed a resolution seeking abolition of Iowa abortion statutes. A few months later, Church of Christ representatives from southwest Iowa recommended liberalizing the law. Jill June, current president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa, said many Iowans at the time knew women who had been ill or nearly died from an illegal abortioa With ultrasound and other developments, the fetus What Roe established In the first trimester, the state cannot interfere In a woman's right to choose to end a pregnancy; it's up to her and her doctor. In the second trimester, the state can regulate to safeguard maternal health, such as requiring abortions be performed in hospitals. The state's "compelling" interest in protecting potential life begins once a fetus can survive outside the womb. At that point, a state can ban abortion, except to preserve the woman's life or health. is now more tangible. "The woman has gotten lost in the debate." What also is striking through three decades of newspaper archives is the unrelenting determination to overturn Roe. Congress denied use of federal funds for most abortions. Court challenges and federal and state laws limited access. The anti-abortion-rights movement scared supporters into silence and most doctors ana hospitals out of openly providing abortions. In Iowa, abortion is now left to Planned Parenthood clinics and the Emma Goldman Clinic in Iowa City, June said. Yet abortion still is common, just as it was before Roe. In Iowa, about 6,000 pregnancies are terminated a year, more than 93 percent in the first 13 weeks. The difference is that legal abortions are medically safe. Yet 30 states arepised tooutlaw abortion if the Supreme Court reverses Roe, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights. That would be a devastating blow for women's health and fundamental right to privacy under the Constitutioa Desperate women once again would suffer from botched attempts to end a pregnancy, their welfare sacrificed to the belief that potential life even at the very earliest stages matters more. ROSES&TfflSTLES Compiled by the Register's editorial staff. Habitat for only some humanity A thistle to Habitat for Humanity in Council Bluffs -for moving to evict an elderly couple from a home they've occupied for 23 years. The house is. unsafe due to a gas leak, but the couple faces being homeless for a month while awaiting a subsidized apartment. As of late last week, neighbors were prepared to help the couple pay for a motel, which is commendable. It is puzzling that an organization dedicated to combating homeless-ness might contribute to it. Best In nation A rose to Ottumwa Middle School Principal Davis Eidahl II and West Branch Middle School science teacher Hector Ibarra for their passionate commitment to kids. Eidahl was recognized with the Milken Award for his leadership in raising academic achievement; Ibarra received Wal-Mart's national teacher-of-the-year honor. It's becoming tiresome to hear uninformed critics grouse about schools when Iowa teachers generally are a hardworking, dedicated bunch, as these two exceptional educators demonstrate. Voluminous candles A rose to the University of Iowa Libraries, celebrating their sesquicentennial. The library has occupied a number of buildings, including the Old Capitol, since it began with 50 books in 1855. Today the library and its 11 branches, with more than 4 million volumes, is the nation's 18th largest of its kind. Anyone who believes libraries will be rendered obsolete by the Internet need only check out the world of information they are putting on their Web pages. So, happy birthday to the U of I Libraries, and many more to come. Right using rights A rose to Drake University students who are sponsoring a Freedom Week beginning Monday to give voice to campus conservatives. We welcome robust exercise of free speech, from the left or the right. It's said that college faculties lean left (confirmed by a recent Register survey at the three state universities). It's not limited to Iowa, however, and one theory is that while liberals drifted into low-paying academia, conservatives headed for fortunes on Wall Street. More than a win is at stake ir On Nov. 7, 2006, Iowans go to the polls to select a new governor to replace Tom Vilsack, who is not seeking re-election. Here's a snapshot of the leading candidates currently seeking the two major-party nominations. DEMOCRATS fc? Mike Blouin Des Moines. Former state economic development director. Has strong support among Democratic legislators. Supports the Values Fund program. His anti-abortion views bother many pro-choice Democrats but might help him win votes from pro-lifers in November. Chet Culver West Des Moines. Secretary of state. Wants to focus on renewable fuels as an program. He's fighting the rap he lacks experience. His support for the death penalty concerns some Democrats but may net him votes in a general election. Ed Fallon Des Moines. State representative. It's never bad to be the most liberal candidate in a six-way Democratic primary. He started early and campaigns hard, attacking the Values Fund and the influence of corporate money in politics. His support for Ralph Nader in 2000 still angers some Democrats. Patty Judge Albia. Secretary of agriculture. Wants to be Iowa's first woman governor. Would use the Values Fund to create more jobs in rural Iowa and to buy down health-insurance premiums for start-up firms. Critics claim her strong support for production agriculture has made her weak on the environment. Note: Three lesser-known Democrats are also running. They are Shenandoah Mayor Gregg Connell, Sioux City engineer Sal Mohamed and Wallingford Mayor Mark Yackle. REPUBLICANS Jim Nussle Manchester. U.S. congressman and House Budget committee chairman. Campaigns hard for an ethanol mandate and alternative-energy programs. He's a proven vote getter in a swing congressional district. The large federal , budget deficit will be a liability. Bob Vander Plaats Sioux City. Business consultant. Wants to reduce government involvement in schools and ease regulations on businesses. This is his second run for governor, and he's got good support among party conservatives. His lack of experience in elective office hurts his chances. t . f ift i mil ; 1 JEFF BASHREGISTER ILLUSTRATION ON POLITICS DavidYepsex Iowa's next leader needs to address tough issues One year from now, Iowa voters go to the polls to select a new governor. We must demand better than weVe had from candidates in recent gubernatorial campaigns. We need candidates willing to tell us things we may not want to hear. We need candidates willing to educate voters on some of the difficult choices Iowa faces. We need candidates willing to argue for specific solutions to complex problems. They need to do that to build public support and consensus for those ideas in case they win the election. That's because an election isn't just about winning. It's also about governing. We don t need slash-and-burn, attack campaigns in which the outcome is determined because one candi date's miscues make the opponent the lesser-of-two-evils. That path will produce a new governor but it won't give that governor any sort of mandate or public support to do much once in office. The last two times the incumbent governor retired, the wide-open campaign for the job under-served Iowans. The eventual winners later had difficulties enacting their agenda because of the way they ran their campaigns. Their efforts left bitterness and division in their wake. See RACE, Page 6 OP Pes jlloinftg Sunbay Krister A GANNETT NEWSPAPER MARY P. STIER, Publisher and President CAROLYN WASHBURN, Editor and Vice President CAROL HUNTER Editorial Page Editor LIN0ALANT0RFANDEL Deputy Editorial Page Editor RICHARD D0AK Senior Editorial Columnist ANDIE D0MINICK, Editorial Writer R0X LAIRD, Editorial Writer SUSAN CURRY, Op-ed Editor Designer RICHARD TAPSCOTT, Managing Editor GAGE CHURCH, Deputy Managing Editor JEANNE ABBOTT, Assistant Managing Editor RANDY BRUBAKER. Assistant Managing Editor RANDY ESSEX, Assistant Managing Editor RANDY EVANS, Assistant Managing Editor LYLE BOONE, Design Editor The Register strives to report the news objectively and to present our opinions clearly and vigorously. Ws are dedicated to progress and to Iowa. The Bottom Line (more letters on Page 2) Made in Iowa Take, mt give Equal righs Prevention Regarding "Organic Food Producers Lose Ground to Imports" (Oct. 8) lamenting our importing organic fruits and vegetables: We drove past factories in Minnesota recently that were busy canning sweet corn, peas, beans and much more. Iowa is missing the boat by canning little of its produce. Linda Mathews, Des Moines. America has one huge flaw: Big Oil. During the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the whole world came to the aid of the people affected. Everyone in the world gave what they could afford. But Big Oil took all it could get. There are givers and takers in this world. Shame on the takers. Gary Wignall, Dallas. Spencer Arritt ("Unused Rights," Oct. 23 letter) fails to understand the logic behind people scorning war protesters. He says he has the right to protest under the First Amendment, and he is right. I also have the right to express how I feel about war protesters. It is amazing how many people forget that. William Gray, West Des Moines. A double-take was unavoidable as I spied the Oct. 23 article stating large hog-lot operators' concern about employees transmitting flu to their porcine charges. How unfortunate that the same degree of concern could not be transmitted to those whose jobs are to follow a basic manure-management plan. Kevin Nelson, Bayard.

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