Iowa Supreme Court rules abortion not protected by state constitution, reversing decision from just four years ago

State’s highest court rules abortion access is no longer a constitutionally protected right as states prepare for imminent Supreme Court decision that could end federal protections for care

Related video: New York expands abortion protections ahead of Roe ruling

Iowa’s Supreme Court has overruled a 2018 decision protecting abortion access under the state’s constitution, opening the door for more abortion restrictions in the state as the US Supreme Court prepares for its likely decision to overturn federal protections for abortion care.

A decision from the state’s highest court on 17 June reverses a lower court ruling to block a 24-hour waiting period before an abortion can be performed, arguing that the ruling from just four years ago that affirmed a constitutional right to abortion care “insufficiently recognizes that future human lives are at stake”.

The ruling from the court – now composed almost entirely of Republican appointees – means anti-abortion legislators no longer must contend with the state’s constitutional protections for abortion care, which could have remained in place even if the Supreme Court does undermine Roe.

Friday’s decision sends a case challenging the waiting period law back to a lower court.

Iowa’s justices argued that the court is not obligated to follow precedent after a 2018 ruling affirmed that “autonomy and dominion over one’s body go to the very heart of what it means to be free”.

The court’s only remaining Democratic appointee, Justice Brent Appel, wrote in his dissent that “the right to reproductive autonomy should not be eviscerated by narrow textualism”.

The state’s Republican Governor Kim Reynolds said Friday’s decision marks a “significant victory in our fight to protect the unborn”.

The court’s reversal reflects the nation’s reshaped conservative judiciary as Republican officials pursue legal challenges to defend their anti-abortion laws under Roe v Wade, while GOP legislators file a wave of restrictive legislation to dramatically reduce abortion access and criminalise providers.

View more

The US Supreme Court is expected to issue its ruling in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Orgnization, a case involving a Mississippi law that bans abortion at 15 weeks of pregnancy. A leaked draft opinion in that case signals that the court will overturn the 1973 decision in Roe v Wade and its affirming decision in1992’s Planned Parenthood v Casey.

Without 50-year-old Roe protections, roughly half of US states could immediately or quickly outlaw abortion, including 13 states with so-called “trigger” bans in place – laws designed to take effect without Roe.

Iowa already has a ban on abortions at six weeks of pregnancy, before many patients know they are pregnant, but the law was ruled unconstitutional.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in