Abortions decline

The number of abortions dropped 30% over the past five years in Iowa, according to figures from the Iowa Department of Public Health reported Wednesday by The Des Moines Register. People who oppose and support legal abortion commenced to argue over what the cause was: more contraception or the power of prayer changing hearts.

It occurred to us that the number of abortions nationally declined every year during the Clinton Administration and rose every year during the Bush Administration. The steepest drop in Iowa occurred since 2008, when Barack Obama took office — the number dropped from nearly 6,500 in 2008 to 4,648 in 2012.

Religious groups jumped on board with Ronald Reagan when he promised to overturn Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. That was 34 years ago. The high court was loaded with conservatives by Reagan and Bushes I and II. Roe v. Wade remains the law of the land.

Bill Clinton took office by pledging to expand access to health care. His motto was to make abortion safe and rare. The abortion rate went down.

Religious groups continue to decry Obama for not being “pro-life.” He actually got health care reform done. The number of community health centers — like United Community Health Center in Storm Lake — has proliferated since Obama took office. The result is more poor, single women have access to health care in general, and prenatal care in particular.

Credit might go to Iowa Right to Life or Planned Parenthood.

We think the credit goes to Iowa women.

Give them the tools to take better care of their health and they will make the right choices. If a woman knows she will be bankrupted by medical expenses resulting from pregnancy, she might get an abortion. With comprehensive care a woman is empowered to bring that pregnancy to term, and give life.

Justices and Republican legislators do not decide when of if an abortion will occur. Women do. People who claim to be pro-life should acknowledge that easier access to better health care is the way to empower women to consent to life. All the political posturing is just that.

Appoint Jeanie Vaudt

We know Jeanie and Dave Vaudt. She is an assistant Iowa attorney general. He is the former state auditor, a Republican. He won his party’s nomination and statewide election three times with his wife supporting him. Dave Vaudt’s parents lived at Rembrandt after rearing young Dave in ­Luverne. These people are Iowans through and through. Good people. Decent people. Honest people. Sincere people.

So where does Scott Bailey, vice president of the Iowa Christian Home Educators from Otley, get off asking Jeanie Vaudt about the status of her marriage to Dave? They are married. Period. And what was Gov. Branstad thinking when he appointed Bailey to the Iowa Judicial Nominating Commission, to which Jeanie Vaudt submitted herself as part of an application to fill a vacancy left on the Iowa Court of Appeals?

She is a lawyer in good standing without a blemish on her record, personal or professional. She has distinguished herself through decades of public service to the attorney general. She is pleasant, laughs easily and wants nothing more than to continue her service to Iowa as a judge. It is a natural progression for her.

Another commissioner, Elizabeth Doll of Council Bluffs, asked another applicant, Jennifer Miller, to comment on “her methodology of choosing a place to worship.”

These people are lawyers, not pastors.

It frightens us that such incompetence can win appointment to a state commission.

It sickens us that outstanding professionals must go through such personal humiliation.

Gov. Branstad could put these two zealots in their proper place by appointing Vaudt to the Court of Appeals. We would prefer Vaudt because we know her. As a good lawyer. A proud Iowan. And eminently qualified to serve as a fair and impartial arbiter of the law. That’s what the commission is supposed to be looking for. If the commissioners don’t know, Branstad should educate them with an impartial appointment.