11:54 AM, Sep 5, 2013 | by Jason Noble
The chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa blasted two Democratic candidates for governor for standing by while a woman prayed for continued access to abortion during a political rally in the Capitol last week.
Party Chairman A.J. Spiker called the prayer, delivered by Midge Slater of the Iowa Alliance for Retired Americans, “sick, twisted and disgusting” and faulted candidates Tyler Olson and Jack Hatch for not indicating their disapproval of it.
“Praying to God and thanking Him for abortions, and then asking for his guidance to provide more abortions, is one of the most atrocious things I’ve ever heard of,” Spiker said in a lengthy prepared statement.
He added, “If this is what Olson and Hatch think will help them in their race to defeat Terry Branstad in 2014, then it shows just how unbelievably out of touch they are with everyday Iowans and how poorly they’re going to perform come election time.”
The prayer was held near the beginning of an “Iowa Women Deserve Better” rally at the Capitol shortly before a meeting of the state Board of Medicine on a proposed rule barring the use of telemedicine in medication abortions.
The purpose of the rally was specifically to defend legal access to abortion.
Both Olson, a state representative from Cedar Rapids, and Hatch, a state Senator from Des Moines, spoke at the event, as did state Sen. Janet Petersen, D-Des Moines, and state Rep. Marti Anderson, D-Des Moines. All four stood near the lectern as Slater delivered the prayer with their heads bowed.
In the prayer, (posted online here by The Iowa Republican blog) Slater thanked God for doctors who perform abortions and prayed for their safety. She also prayed that elected officials support “a woman’s right to make her own medical decision” and for continued access to “all forms of birth control.”
“We give thanks and celebrate that abortion is still safe and legal,” Slater said.
In an interview with the Register on Thursday, Olson reiterated his support for access to abortion but said he couldn’t speak to anyone else’s view on the matter.
“I believe that the decision should not be made at state Capitol. It should be made between a woman, her doctor, her family, her faith community, whoever she wants to include in that,” he said. “That’s my position, it has been my position, it will be my position and I don’t speak for anybody else.”
Calls to Hatch were not immediately returned.
At a simultaneous rally held by abortion opponents at a nearby church, organizers distributed a “prayer guide” containing several suggested prayers underscoring opposition to abortion. Many attendees read off the sheet as they prayed silently in the church sanctuary.
One of the prayers asked forgiveness “for allowing the telemed abortion distribution system to exist in our state and deliver us from this great evil.”
Another thanked the Lord for “the newly appointed Iowa Board of Medicine who voted to review the distribution of the dangerous RU-486 abortion drug thru telemedicine.” It continued, “May the Lord endow them with wisdom and understanding.”