Josh Mandelbaum runs for mayor of Des Moines on abortion platform

Josh Mandelbaum

Des Moines mayoral candidate, Josh Mandelbaum, has made the expansion of abortion in Des Moines, Iowa, the centerpiece of his mayoral campaign.

He’s fundraising on the issue with email letters like this:

Dear [name],

Last week, the Iowa Supreme Court made a crucial ruling in the fight for abortion rights. Their decision means that Iowans still have a right to abortion care up to 20 weeks.

I applaud the Court’s decision, but the fight is only just beginning. We cannot pretend that Governor Kim Reynolds and Republicans in the state legislature will not try again and again to take away the right to an abortion.

So, [name], I’m asking YOU to chip in to support my campaign and help me stand up for abortion rights in Des Moines. 

The right to an abortion and reproductive health care is fundamental, and we have a duty to protect those rights. That’s why I introduced a resolution on the Des Moines City Council last year laying out how we could stand up for abortion rights in the city.

Unfortunately, my colleagues on the council rejected that proposal, preferring to leave this issue entirely in the hands of the very state leaders working to take away access to reproductive health care.

THAT’S WHY I’M RUNNING FOR MAYOR. [name], will you contribute to my campaign and stand with me to protect abortion rights in Iowa?



He’s running op-eds in the Des Moines Register, like today’s submission. Some excerpts:

“The right to an abortion and reproductive health care is fundamental, and the choice to receive such care is personal. Iowans overwhelmingly support access to abortion and reproductive health care. Despite this, Gov. Kim Reynolds and Republicans in the state Legislature have taken us backwards by passing a draconian abortion ban to strip Iowans of a fundamental right.

In Des Moines, we have a duty to protect the health and well-being of our residents, and that does not change with the governor’s signature on this bill. We should be a voice for our residents and stand up for them even as Reynolds and the Republican legislators blatantly disregard us.”

He proceeded to tout the radical resolution he put forward last year that would force taxpayers to pay travel costs for city employees seeking out-of-state abortions, among other things. Here is his complete ‘wish list’:

  • Provide a benefit to city employees to cover travel costs in the case that they must seek abortion care outside the state;
  • Prohibit discrimination based on reproductive health care decisions;
  • Prohibit use of city funds to store or catalog information about abortion, conduct surveillance or collect information to determine if an abortion occurred, or provide information to government agencies about an abortion;
  • Make enforcement of state laws that seek to criminalize abortion the lowest enforcement priority; and
  • Advocate for the codification of access to abortion care in state and federal law.

Every other mayoral candidate in the history of Des Moines has focused on “livability” issues that promote a clean, safe, vibrant community. Mandelbaum is the first to focus on death.