This is a more major, still very dramatic struggle that affects more than just me.
Otherwise knows as the state of my state.
I’ve lived in Iowa for 17 years, and in the Des Moines area for 11. When I moved to Des Moines to take the only job I could find after graduating college, I didn’t come with intentions to stay all that long. But it really grew on me, and for the past 7 or 8 years I have really loved living here. It became the place I wanted to plant roots, invest in, and stay forever.
But I’ve started to question all of that since the election. In addition to the total shit-show that is happening at the national level, my state is completely falling apart as well. Not that I’m really, seriously considering moving away. But goddamnit it I have thought about it, a lot, in the last couple months. I am so envious of anyone living in a progressive state, so at least it’s only the federal government trying to screw you and you’re not getting it from all sides.
It’s like a bad breakup, because Iowa wasn’t always this way. We’ve been relatively progressive on a lot of things the last several years. But in the last couple, we’ve started to turn back the other way. And this year, we finally lost majority in the state senate, so now we’ve got republican control of the full legislature and a republican governor.
And they’ve all gone completely ape-shit. They’ve been in session for 8 weeks, and have introduced a whole slew of scary bills, including:
- Defunding planned parenthood
- Ending a state trust that supports arts programs
- 20-week abortion ban
- Reinstating the death penalty
- Severely under-funding schools
- Taking away collective-bargaining rights for public employees
- Gun safety changes, including stand your ground and open carry without a permit
- Voter ID
- Dismantling the Des Moines water department, in an effort to stop a lawsuit that was filed because factory farms are poisoning our water
- Education savings accounts (funneling money away from public schools into homeschooling and private/charter schools)
But the one that has cause me the most personal worry is this… the Personhood bill. This gives equal rights and protection to fetuses starting from the time of conception. This would affect abortion, certain birth control like IUDs, and… IVF.
The bill language tries to spell out some attempted (but still very vague) protections surrounding abortion and birth control. But doesn’t even talk about protecting IVF.
A speaker at the senate subcommittee hearing earlier this week basically spelled it out like this… IVF procedures would not be outlawed or have to change in any way, BUT destruction of embryos would not be allowed. So, if you have embryos still frozen after your family is complete, and you can’t or don’t want to donate them for embryo adoption, then you basically have to keep paying to store them forever, because you won’t be able to destroy them (and it was already illegal to donate them for scientific research.)
What. The. Actual. Fuck.
In case anyone is new here, or has forgotten, I currently have two embryos that are frozen. Still not sure if we want to add any more littles to our family. If we did, it would almost definitely only be one. So, the odds of me having an embryo or two left when we decide our family is complete are high.
Now, I feel cautiously confident that this will never pass. It’s funnel week this week, and bills that don’t make it out of committee die. And I haven’t seen anything announced that this bill is being considered in committee before the end of the week. If it was and did make it to the floor, I’m not so sure it would pass, as it’s so extreme that not even all republicans support it. If somehow it did pass, it likely would be ruled unconstitutional by our supreme court.
But still, there are plenty of people in the legislature that do support it, and that in and of itself is scary.
I went to the subcommittee hearing on Monday, and the giant crowd of pro-lifers singing hymns in the lobby was even scarier.
It’s like I’m living in some kind of bizarro-world.
Also, the cuts and changes to education are pissing me off, now that I have a son who will be starting school in few years. The Scott Walker-style collective bargaining legislation has already passed and been signed. Our teachers are totally screwed and a lot will likely stop teaching or leave the state. Our public schools aren’t getting enough money and are also totally screwed.
Most of me wants to stick it out, work hard, and try to help. Volunteer more to get better candidates into office. Maybe run for school board in a few years. Don’t give up on the place that I’ve loved living for so long and that I know can be better.
The idea of both of us trying to find jobs in a new city, selling a house, and moving isn’t actually appealing. But I’ve lost count of the number of times the idea pops into my head that, “Gee, Denver seems like a nice place to live.” (Caveat: I’ve never actually been to Denver. Lol.)
I think I can probably stick out the madness for two years to see if people come to their senses and vote some of these assholes out. But if they don’t, and nothing changes, these might become more than just fleeting thoughts.