Iowa Supreme Court Issues Ruling on Abortion Waiting Period Law


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A highly anticipated abortion ruling came down on Friday from the Iowa Supreme Court, which involves a law requiring women to wait 24 hours before getting an abortion.

The Iowa Supreme Court has overruled a 2018 decision and held that abortion is not protected by the state’s constitution.

“In a fractured decision that reverses a lower court’s decision to block a 24-hour waiting period before an abortion, the court said the previous ruling that established a constitutional right to an abortion insufficiently recognizes that future human lives are at stake,” USA Today reported.

“The ruling sends a case challenging a 2020 law that put in place a 24-hour waiting period for an abortion back to a lower court to reevaluate. It also suggested that a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court, which is expected soon, would further decide the landscape of abortion in Iowa and across the U.S.,” the report added.

“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.

Iowa GOP Gov. Kim Reynolds celebrated the Iowa Supreme Court decision in a statement.

“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,” Reynolds said. “Every life is sacred and should be protected, and as long as I’m governor that is exactly what I will do.”

With the Iowa constitutional right removed, and if the Roe precedent is overturned, Iowa lawmakers would have significantly more freedom to pass and enforce restrictive abortion laws.


House Speaker Pat Grassley, R-New Hartford, said the decision “is a positive step in our fight to protect the unborn.”

Democrats decried the ruling, with House Minority Leader Jennifer Konfrst calling it a “step backward for Iowa families.”

“Iowans should always have the final say in making their own healthcare decisions, including abortion, without interference from politicians,” Konfrst said in a statement.

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The ruling out of Iowa comes as the U.S. Supreme Court will soon deliver the official ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the highly anticipated abortion case that could overrule Roe v. Wade.

A draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito was leaked to Politico in early May and it set off a firestorm on social media.

“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” Alito writes.

“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” he writes in the document. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”


“We, therefore, hold the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion. Roe and Casey must be overruled, and the authority to regulate abortion must be returned to the people and their elected representatives,” Alito writes in the document, labeled the “Opinion of the Court.”

Soon after Alito’s draft majority opinion leaked, it’s assumed there were at least 5 votes in favor of overturning Roe v Wade, leaving state legislators to weigh their own abortion policies.

However, the investigation has not identified any suspects and the court’s integrity is growing weaker by the day, according to NPR.

One source told the outlet that “the place sounds like it’s imploding.”

Another said, “I don’t know how on earth the court is going to finish up its work this term.”

The nation’s highest court has taken a slew of actions since the leak, including requiring law clerks to provide cell phone records and sign affidavits, according to CNN.

A draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito was leaked to Politico earlier this month and it set off a firestorm on social media.

“Some clerks are apparently so alarmed over the moves, particularly the sudden requests for private cell data, that they have begun exploring whether to hire outside counsel. The court’s moves are unprecedented and the most striking development to date in the investigation into who might have provided Politico with the draft opinion it published on May 2,” CNN reported.

“The probe has intensified the already high tensions at the Supreme Court, where the conservative majority is poised to roll back a half-century of abortion rights and privacy protections. Chief Justice John Roberts met with law clerks as a group after the breach, CNN has learned, but it is not known whether any systematic individual interviews have occurred,” the report added.