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Iowa will recognize abortion rights if SCOTUS reverses Roe v. Wade

The Iowa Supreme Court has not yet ruled on the case.

Published: May 5, 2022 10:37am

Updated: May 5, 2022 4:46pm

(The Center Square) -

At this point, Iowans won’t see an immediate impact if Roe v Wade is overturned, an Iowa attorney general spokesman says.

The Iowa Supreme Court has recognized a right to abortion in the state’s constitution, Office of the Attorney General Chief of Staff Lynn Hicks told The Center Square in an emailed statement Wednesday.

Iowa legislators and Gov. Kim Reynolds asked the court to overturn that ruling in a case regarding the 24-hour waiting period law passed in 2020, Hicks said.

In August 2021, 60 legislators asked the Iowa Supreme Court in an amicus brief filed by Alliance Defending Freedom and The FAMiLY Leader to reverse its 2018 decision on Planned Parenthood of the Heartland. v Reynolds. In that case, the court recognized a right to abortion in the Iowa Constitution in its 2018 opinion in Reynolds v Planned Parenthood. It concluded the law violates the due process and equal protection clauses of the Iowa Constitution because its restrictions on women are not narrowly tailored to serve a compelling interest of the State, Justice Mark Cady said in the majority’s ruling.

Since the 2018 decision, Gov. Kim Reynolds has appointed justices Dana Oxley, Matthew McDermott, Christopher McDonald, and Susan Christensen, who replaced the late Cady as chief justice.

“If that 2018 state ruling still stands when Roe is overturned, Iowans will watch state after state around us protect life, while we cannot,” The FAMiLY Leader said in a statement Tuesday. “Rather, Iowa would likely become an abortion destination state, where thousands of women travel to seek abortions.”

The Iowa Supreme Court has not yet ruled on the case.

The institute supports a Protect Life Amendment that Iowa legislators passed in May 2021 to amend the Iowa Constitution to declare the Constitution “does not recognize, grant, or secure a right to abortion or require the public funding of abortion.” The proposed amendment needs to be passed again in the fall legislative session before voters see it as an electoral ballot question.

Under a bill that is lingering in the House, SF2381, Iowa would spend $1 million expanding options statewide for maternal support programs through nonprofit organizations that promote helping pregnant women choose adoption or parenting. The Senate passed it April 5 in a 32-16 vote.

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