Iowa Supreme Court Revokes State’s Protection for Abortion

The court’s decision clears a path for abortion restrictions in Iowa.

QUICK FACTS:
  • On Friday, the Iowa Supreme Court overturned a 2018 ruling that upheld abortion rights under the state constitution.
  • While the Iowa Supreme Court rejected a constitutional guarantee of the right to abortion, the split decision did not specify what the new threshold should be.
  • The ruling, along with the possibility of a Supreme Court overturning of Roe v. Wade, would give Iowa lawmakers more leeway in passing stringent abortion restrictions.
  • “Although we overrule (the 2018 decision), and thus reject the proposition that there is a fundamental right to an abortion in Iowa’s Constitution subjecting abortion regulation to strict scrutiny, we do not at this time decide what constitutional standard should replace it,” wrote Justice Edward Mansfield, who penned the majority opinion.
  • The change in state policy means that Republican lawmakers will not face state-level protections for abortion, which would have remained in place even if Roe v. Wade were overturned.
IOWA LAWMAKERS’ REACTIONS:
  • House Speaker Pat Grassley, R-New Hartford, said the decision “is a positive step in our fight to protect the unborn. As we work to understand the full impact of this decision, Iowans can be assured that Iowa House Republicans are strongly pro-life and remain committed to protecting the unborn and providing additional support for new mothers.”
  • Iowa GOP Gov. Kim Reynolds celebrated the Iowa Supreme Court decision in a statement, saying, “Today’s ruling is a significant victory in our fight to protect the unborn. The Iowa Supreme Court reversed its earlier 2018 decision, which made Iowa the most abortion-friendly state in the country.” He added, “Every life is sacred and should be protected, and as long as I’m governor that is exactly what I will do.”
  • Democrats House Minority Leader Jennifer Konfrst called it a “step backward for Iowa families,” decrying the ruling: “Iowans should always have the final say in making their own healthcare decisions, including abortion, without interference from politicians,” Konfrst said in a statement.
BACKGROUND:
  • Iowa’s state decision comes as Americans are waiting to hear if the United States Supreme Court will overturn Roe v. Wade, as was strongly indicated in a recent leak of a drafted opinion.
  • Currently, the FBI is conducting a probe into attacks on pro-life centers across the nation, which began after the draft was leaked to the press weeks ago.