By Maggie DeWitte
Well, here we are. It’s not where we wanted to be tonight, but none-the-less, here it is. Thank you so much for joining us! Thank you to our generous sponsors and a special thanks to Karen and Tom Quiner who helped put this production forward.
Our opening song this evening was written by no other than Mr. Quiner himself as well another song you will be hearing tonight called The Christmas Lullaby. What an amazing talent he is and IFL is blessed to have him on our team.
I know we are all anxiously awaiting with hope a time when mask-free visits can occur; let me tell you I am ready to give people some hugs. Heck, I will be giving strangers hugs when all is said and done!
Psalm 27 tells us not to fear
We are living in a challenging time right now. What keeps coming back to me is FEAR. We know as Christians, that we are not to live in fear. Scripture tells us this clearly in Psalm 27:1-3:
“The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When evildoers assail me to devour my flesh – my adversaries and foes – they stumble and fall. Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; Though war rise up against me, even then do I trust.”
We simply cannot live in fear. In reflecting on my remarks this evening, the word fear came to me loud and clear, but a prayer also came to me. It’s a prayer that I have a love/hate relationship with. In fact, I have it hanging on my wall in my office as a constant reminder to pray it. It’s called the Litany of Humility.
In part, it asks Jesus to deliver us from the fear of being humiliated, despised, rebuked, forgotten, ridiculed, wronged, or suspected.
We desperately need Jesus to deliver us from our fears and humbly walk in His path. I encourage you to pray it and pray it often! And in walking in His path, I have the privilege of sharing with you all the great work IFL has done this last year! I start with the 2020 Legislative Session….
The Legislative Session
The beginning of the session, we worked hard in garnering support for the Protect Life Amendment; the best and most direct path toward undoing the judicial overreach in 2018.
For those not quite up to speed, the pro-life movement in the state of Iowa was finally seeing some major successes. We began with the 20-week abortion ban and 72-hour waiting period. While the 20-week abortion ban became law, the 72-hour part of the bill was immediately contested by Planned Parenthood and the ACLU.
While this lawsuit worked its way through the court, the next legislative session we passed the first in the nation Heartbeat law. After this bill was signed into law, the court finally made their ruling on the 72-hour waiting period. The court ruled the law unconstitutional and that it was an undue burden for women. However, they went a step further in creating law: they determined that we had a fundamental right to abortion in our Iowa Constitution.
Fundamental right, you ask? Yes, here is the evidence of a right to abortion in the constitution.
[Holds up blank notebook.]
May the dogma live loudly within you!
Yes, I copied that from my new BFF Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett. She doesn’t know we are BFF’s, but that’s fine. As a side, her confirmation was the bright light at the end of this seemingly dark tunnel of 2020…. May the Dogma Live Loudly in each of you! My new favorite phrase.
Getting back to this devastating ruling, the Iowa Supreme Court effectively took the role of creating law out of the hands of our duly elected legislators and took it upon themselves to determine the law of the land in the great state of Iowa.
Because of this ruling, the heartbeat law never went into effect. A Polk County District Judge ruled on the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade that because of this 72-hour ruling, the Heartbeat bill was ruled unconstitutional.
It was clear; an amendment to the constitution the only way that we could be assured that if or when Roe vs. Wade falls and abortion law is given back to the individual states, that Iowa would not become the mecca of abortion in our country.
The Protect Life Amendment passed the Senate. It passed out of the House subcommittee and committee but was stalled on the floor vote.
COVID disrupts the session
Then due to Covid-19, the session would be suspended. When session resumed, we learned that the amendment would not move forward and that the House was now presenting a new pro-life bill, a 24-hour waiting period before obtaining an abortion.
Unfortunately, The Protect Life Amendment failed to pass. The hope is that the 24-Hour bill will attempt to do what our Protect Life Amendment was to do – reverse the 2018 court ruling.
Right on cue, Planned Parenthood and the ACLU filed a hearing for an injunction on the bill. The judge granted the motion, and the bill will not go into effect at this time in Iowa.
In the meantime, Iowans for LIFE and the Coalition of Pro-Life Leaders will continue to push for The Protect Life Amendment in the 2021 session. IFL will be working and educating as we have done for the last 48 years in the state of Iowa. This also includes educating on the new pilot program in Iowa to have the dangerous RU-486 abortion pill mailed to women in Iowa through the US Postal System. I hope you will stand with us as we continue this battle.
March for Life update
As you all know, IFL has been leading the charge in taking Iowans to the March for Life for well over 30 years. This last year was a monumental event in that the first time ever, a sitting president, President Donald Trump, addressed the March for Life in person – the largest march in the country that occurs every year.
It was a historic event, and I was proud that IFL was able to bring Iowans, particularly our young people, to witness this moment in history!
As Covid entered our world, it was heavy on my heart as to whether we could safely offer our trip to DC. With regret, we determined that this year we would not be able to provide this mission pilgrimage. However, true to how IFL has operated for over 48 years, we adapted to this situation, and I am excited to announce that in 2021 we will offer a local Iowans for LIFE March here in Des Moines.
You are invited
We invite you to join us on Saturday January 9 at the Iowa State Capitol at 10am for our march for life! We will have more details on our website in the coming weeks and I hope you will join us – even in the cold, and even in the snow. Because we need to be present, we need to bear witness, and we need to be a voice for the thousands of Iowa boys and girls who have been snuffed out of their mother’s womb.
IFL is an educational leader
Iowans for LIFE is the leader on educating Iowans on the life issues of our time. We are constantly looking for new and innovative ways to combat this culture of death. Last year, we introduced you to our Pro-Life Apologetics Tool Kit. We assembled the top 20 most common arguments made on the topic of abortion and concise answers to those arguments. It was so successful we decided to add to it this year. Our newest project is to take these life topics and put them to video. Here now is an example of our work:
You will be seeing more of these videos in the coming months, so if you are not following IFL on social media, please do. We want to equip you with the tools necessary to engage your friends and neighbors on this most important issue. It takes everyone having these conversations; and IFL is there to help!
Although we were not able to have the Iowa State Fair this year, be assured we used this time to think of bigger and better ways to reach Iowans next year! And don’t forget our Respect Life Curriculum for schools and churches. IFL will continue to promote our curriculum throughout Iowa!
Its easy to get discouraged by the never-ending hits that 2020 has given us all; Don’t! There is hope. We should try our best to follow the words of my favorite saint, St. Padre Pio, Pray, Hope, and Don’t Worry.
In Iowa, the election went exceptionally well for the pro-life movement. Coupled with a newly constituted Iowa and US Supreme Court, we have many things to look forward to, even despite a potential Biden presidency looming around us.
But we know that the battle is not won just in elections, legislation, or law. The battle is won by changing the hearts and minds of every human being we encounter.
Every. Single. One.
Food for thought …
For those who have attended our banquets in the past, you know that I like to leave you with something to think about, and it is usually from someone much smarter and more well spoken than I. Tonight, it is St. John Henry Newman. Please consider these words for yourself as I read them:
“God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good; I shall do His work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place. Therefore, I will trust Him, whatever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him, in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him. If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. He does nothing in vain. He knows what He is about.”
Be a link in our pro-life chain. Preach the truth of life, even when it’s difficult. You all have a mission friends- do your part and rest assured Iowans for LIFE will be right by your side helping you all along the way.