A modest proposal to save Iowa

By Tom Quiner


Iowa is dying.

The numbers are damning.  We’re not replacing ourselves.  Our population growth is stagnant.  The magic number needed to replace ourselves is 2.1 live births per woman.  That’s known as the Total Fertility Rate (TFR).

Iowa’s TFR is only 1.98 according to National Vital Statistics.  We’re one of 36 states not replacing ourselves.  Our population growth is slower than any other state except West Virginia and North Dakota’s, according to the Iowa Fiscal Partnership.

The only thing saving us from demographic death are immigrants.

In other words, our fair state is experiencing a devastating shortage of the Iowa Fetus.  I humbly present a Modest Proposal to save the state you and I love:  I propose we add the Iowa Fetus to the Endangered Species List.

You may think this sounds strange.  And yet isn’t that what the law is for, to protect species whose numbers are dwindling?

I am proposing that we elevate the Iowa Fetus to the status of the Iowa Pleistocene Land Snail, the Piping Plover, the Indiana Bat, or some other currently protected endangered species.

This status carries great weight. Just two days ago, a $31 million road project near Waukee, Iowa, came to a screeching halt because environmentalists found a single Indiana bat in close proximity to a future construction site.

We need to protect Iowa Fetuses for practical reasons: Iowa needs more taxpayers.

According to estimates from the Alan Guttmacher Institute, 188,000 Iowa Fetuses have been destroyed since 1974.  We are squandering our state’s resources!

Granted, some of these Iowa Fetuses would have left Iowa had they been allowed to live.  On the other hand, the female strain of the Iowa Fetus conceived in the 70’s and 80’s would now be in the Fetus-bearing years themselves, generating a whole new crop of taxpayers.  So who knows how many Iowans we would have had today if only we had begun employing Fetus conservation measures back in the 70s.

We need Iowa Fetuses because our state’s budget is a mess.  I talked to State Auditor, David Vaudt, about this situation.  Back in 1980, our state spent about $600 per Iowan. Today the number is $2122.  These numbers are adjusted for inflation in 1980 dollars based on “total true expenditures” by the state.

We’ve been spending like we have a much bigger population.  We don’t, because we’ve been squandering our posterity, the Iowa Fetus, for a generation.

We need them to take care of Baby Boomers and pay for the expanding social welfare system we’ve created.  How is our aging population supposed to manage with a shortage of younger Iowans?

I have to admit I’m not totally objective on this issue.  I think the Iowa Fetus is pretty darn cute.  On the other hand, I have liberal friends who are more partial to the Indiana Bat.  Another is absolutely gaga over the Iowa Pleistocene Land Snail and has a poster of one over his pool table.

I guess beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

Some say the solution is simply more immigration.

Don’t hold your breath.  Iowa isn’t exactly a job magnet these days.

What is Congress doing to help alleviate our Fetus crisis?  They passed Obamacare a few years ago that will ultimately provide free Fetus terminations at taxpayer expense.  Memo to outgoing Senator Harkin:  we need more Iowa Fetuses, not less.

Democrats are in love with Europe’s health care model.  Guess what?  Europe is dying faster than Iowa.  The continent with taxpayer-funded Fetus termination has a TFR much lower than Iowa’s.

Instead, why don’t we pay married Iowa women to create more than 2.1 Iowa Fetuses?  Now there’s a welfare program that makes sense!

My Modest Proposal presents Iowa with a bipartisan, long term solution to its demographic exigency.

Conservatives will quickly embrace the idea.  Most of them believe each Iowa Fetus harbors an eternal soul.  Although liberals aren’t swayed by such sentimental notions, they do love endangered species and enthusiastically support laws which protect them.  And they understand the need for more future taxpayers.

It is time to add the Iowa Fetus to the Endangered Species List to save Iowa.


  1. Bob Vance on March 7, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    What do you think of Arkansas’ new law?

  2. SoCal Chica on March 7, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    While I am definitely pro-choice (although I do believe there should be legitimate reasons for termination – not just because someone was too ignorant to use birth control and is using abortion as a “back-up” plan), I definitely see your point and actually agree with your idea to pay married women to re-produce. You can’t force someone to have or keep a baby that they don’t want, and honestly, babies born to single women or unmarried partners will statistically grow up to be the most unhappy and unproductive Iowans… but why not celebrate and reward those stable families who are willing and prepared to raise Iowa’s future? The married standard is especially important so as to not cause single women in a pinch for money to get themselves pregnant for selfish gain. Overall, I think this is an idea that is definitely worth considering.

    • Karen Quiner on March 7, 2013 at 5:56 pm

      I think Toms suggestion was somewhat tongue in cheek.

      • 247southernvoice on March 9, 2013 at 10:47 am

        SoCal Chica said: “… but why not celebrate and reward those stable families who are willing and prepared to raise Iowa’s future?”

        Whether or not Tom’s original suggestion was tongue-in-cheek, it is refreshing to hear someone suggest that we actually (*gasp!*) celebrate married couples having multiple children. And this suggestion comes from someone who self-identifies with the pro-choice side of the issue!

        That’s refreshing.

        • quinersdiner on March 9, 2013 at 1:35 pm

          It is refreshing. Thanks for writing.

  3. Karen Quiner on March 7, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    Arkansas new law? I love it!
    At 12 weeks, it is definitely a person and terminating it is killing a person.

    • Bob Vance on March 8, 2013 at 11:38 am

      I think it is a step in the right direction.

  4. saneromeo on March 7, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    Brilliant! Your satire is cutting and witty, and most importantly rings with truth. I have often lamented the fact that I could get jail time for breaking an unborn Condor egg, but I can get monetary assistance to kill an unborn human.

    • quinersdiner on March 7, 2013 at 9:27 pm

      Great line. I’ll be quoting you! Thanks for commenting.

  5. justturnright on March 9, 2013 at 8:17 am

    Brilliant, Tom. This post just became one of my favorites here….

    Wonderfully done.

  6. justturnright on March 9, 2013 at 8:22 am

    Reblogged this on Two Heads are Better Than One and commented:
    A brilliant piece of satire that is based in truth, as all good satire MUST be. Essential reading…

    • quinersdiner on March 9, 2013 at 8:57 am

      Thanks for the kind words. I appreciate it.

  7. kayedubya on March 11, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    Excellent post, Tom Quiner. To SoCal Chica, why not have the baby and give it to a stable family? Abortion is murder and makes the mother “unhappy” until she can forgive herself.

  8. SoCal Chica on March 12, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    Thanks, 247southernvoice! You “get” me! I know what is and what is not realistic, but the fact stands that folks who feel forced to have babies that they don’t want (regardless of their failure to utilize adequate birth control or wait until marriage) are much more likely to raise kids who are unhappy with their situation and less likely to be successful. That’s not a blanket statement. It’s a generalization. But families who want children and are prepared to raise them in a healthy, married, stable environment are those who will contribute best to society and build Iowa’s future in a positive light 🙂