State Sen. Kim Reynolds
State Sen. Kim Reynolds
GOP candidate for lieutenant governor Kim Reynolds Tuesday said she believes abortion is “equivalent to murder.” On another key contemporary social issue, Reynolds said marriage should be defined as being between one man and one woman — although she made three separate references to civil unions for homosexuals in an interview, saying she would be open to such a prospect in Iowa.

As former Gov. Terry Branstad’s running mate in his effort to win a fifth term, Reynolds, halfway through her first term as a state senator from Osceola, is spending some of her early days on the campaign trail in counties in which Sioux City business consultant Bob Vander Plaats and State Rep. Rod Roberts, R-Carroll, showed strength in the June Republican primary. (Roberts carried Carroll County in the primary with 74 percent of the vote.)

“In some of the counties that the governor (Branstad) didn’t carry I’m gonna try to get out there and meet with them and just talk to them and listen to them, give them an opportunity to get to know me,” Reynolds said.

Speaking at the Carroll Pizza Ranch, Reynolds fielded a question about gay marriage, now legal in Iowa.

“Well, I am pro-life, and I am pro-family,” Reynolds said.

Later, in an interview with the Daily Times Herald, Reynolds was asked to elaborate on those positions.

If her stance on abortion prevails, and it is criminalized again, what should the penalty be for a physician who performs an abortion or a woman who has one?

“Well, I think it would be equivalent to murder,” Reynolds said. “I would want to research that before I would lay specifically out what the penalties would be.”

If someone is stabbed to death in front of Pizza Ranch now is the culprit guilty of the same crime as a doctor who performs an abortion?

“No,” she said.

So if it’s a different kind murder then?

“I would want to take a look at that and make sure that I completely walked through that before I would say anything right now,” Reynolds said. “I’m not going to give an answer to that right now without thoroughly looking through that and making sure that I’m looking at both sides.”

If she’s strongly pro-life, why hasn’t Reynolds thought about the punishment component as criminalized abortion is the end game, the logical conclusion, of the pro-life movement?

“I don’t know if it needs to be the death penalty,” she said. “Is that what you’re asking me?”

Should the doctors and women involved in the abortion get a ticket, a fine, or should they be executed?

“I think that we would take a look and make sure that the punishment met the crime,” Reynolds said. “It would depend on the level of crime that was served. I would want to be sure to take a look at that before I gave an off-handed comment to that issue.”

On gay marriage, Reynolds said Iowa voters, not the state’s Supreme Court, should make the decision about its legality in the Hawkeye State.

How has gay marriage hurt Iowa so far? How have homosexuals who are married hurt this state? What are they doing to Iowa that’s troubling to Reynolds?

“I believe that the definition of marriage is between one man and one woman from a religious aspect,” Reynolds said. “That is my belief. I have stated that. I always have believed that.”

That considered, Reynolds said she would be open to the idea of civil unions for gay couples.

“We could take a look at civil unions,” Reynolds said. “There are other options maybe that I would be in favor of looking at.”

She added, “They can do civil unions. I think they can get to some of the same place that they want to look at.”

Reynolds said that as a citizen she would vote for a measure defining marriage as between one man and one woman.

“But the bottom line is this is an extremely important issue, and I believe that Iowans have a right to speak on that,” Reynolds said.