About Iowa's Original Pro-Life Organization
Founded in 1972, Iowans for LIFE is the longest standing, non-profit organization in Iowa. We are dedicated to protecting human life by informing, educating, and inspiring society to value the sanctity of all human life from fertilization to natural death.
We advocate at the state capital, in classrooms, and at events across Iowa on the following issues...
Abortion • Stem-Cell Research/Human Cloning • Contraception/Natural Family Planning • Physician-assisted Suicide • Euthanasia
In 1972, a group of concerned Iowan's gathered in Ames, Iowa to form the first state-wide pro-life organization in Iowa's history. Many of us had been working in our individual communities and had formed local organizations to educate the public on the life issues of abortion, infanticide and euthanasia. All were illegal at that time, but strident, liberal, feminist groups were organizing across the country to challenge legislatures and the courts to change history.
Eight pro-life organizations from Des Moines, Ames, Dubuque, Sheldon-Hospers, Clinton, Sioux City, Waterloo and Cedar Rapids were represented that day. We were men and women of different religious beliefs, professions and political parties - all united in one basic belief - the right to life for ALL.
We chose Iowans for LIFE (Life is For Everyone). Our choice was to reflect our concern for all human life from conception until natural death. We were not strictly an anti-abortion group. Our concerns were to be directed to the unborn, disabled and elderly.
We saw the need to unite our eight individual groups into a state wide organization to be united in one voice and better able to lobby our cause at the Iowa State Capitol. We began to gather signatures for a petition to our state legislators to retain our 115 year old Iowa law that forbade abortion. Feminist groups had initiated legislation to remove it.
Roe vs. Wade
On January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court ruled on a very important case, the Roe vs. Wade decision. Abortion-on-demand right up until the day of delivery was now decided solely by a woman and her doctor. Needless to say, we were devastated! The anger, disappointment and disbelief awakened and energized us all - including much of the general population who either did not know or hear of the warnings we'd been issuing. By the end of the month, IFL grew from 8 to 11 affiliates.
We had nearly 30 affiliates the following June when our founder Carolyn Thompson went to Detroit to meet with representatives from other states to begin a national organization, as indeed this now was a national concern. Iowans For LIFE was the founding organization of Iowa in forming the National Right to Life Committee in Detroit in June of 1973. In January of 1974, as National Director from Iowa, she was proud to present our Senator, Harold Hughes, to the thousands of marchers at the U.S. Capitol for the first annual March for Life. Senator Hughes was the co-sponsor of the Human Life Amendment.
Major legislation credited to our organization is Conscience Clause (protecting healthcare personnel from participating in abortion), Feticide Section of the Criminal Code, suspension of tax money to be used to pay for abortions, and in march of 1996, Terry Branstad signed a new law which would provide criminal penalties for anyone assisting in a suicide. This legislation was drafted and spearheaded by Iowan's For LIFE.
The original make-up of the Board of Directors consisted largely of members of the medical and legal profession. Doctors and nurses were among the first to deal directly with the life issues and challenges to them. Therefore, in the early years, we embarked on campaigns to educate the general public in the areas of fetal development and the humanity of the unborn. The debate then shifted to the quality of life and if that child was to be considered "worthy" of life, to the recent challenges to the elderly, infirm, and disabled where assisted suicide is suggested as the only humane solution. Chemical abortions have arrived and now more than ever, Iowans For LIFE must redouble its efforts to do what is does best and the for purpose we originally organized. EDUCATE!
Iowans For LIFE became a force to be recognized, educationally and politically, and our efforts on behalf of the unborn, disabled and elderly have been effective. It is true that there have been times of frustration. The past 40 years have shown us that it is not easy - we'll have to fight for everything we get and then fight even harder to keep it. But we have the staying power to win and we are committed to stay with it until we reestablish the right to life for all.
Iowans for LIFE is totally reliant on the donations of the pro-life community.
If you need information, please call 1-800-727-2435 or (515) 255-4113 and speak with our executive director, Maggie DeWitte