Iowa’s new 24-hour abortion waiting period law will not go into effect, at least for now, due to a court order.
If you want a sense of how the legal battles over abortion are fought, you’ll get a decent understanding by following the chronology of events in the Hawkeye State over the last couple weeks.
The Iowa legislature passed the bill on June 14. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit on behalf of Planned Parenthood on June 23. Governor Kim Reynolds (R) signed the bill into law on Monday, June 29, which was scheduled to go into effect on Wednesday, July 1. A court hearing was held on Tuesday, June 30, at which Johnson County District Judge Mitchell Turner granted a temporary injunction blocking the law from taking effect until the litigation is resolved.
The law is not simply a waiting period bill; it also contains a requirement that a woman be permitted to view an ultrasound of her baby during that period, and also requires that certain required information be provided to the mother, including options for adoption.
Judge Turner ruled that the 24-hour waiting period appears to have the same negative effect on a woman’s access to abortion as a previous 72-hour waiting period law, which was struck down by the Iowa Supreme Court in 2018.
Although waiting periods have been passed in a majority of states, Iowa poses a special problem for pro-life legislation because its Supreme Court also ruled in that 2018 case that the Iowa Constitution grants even stronger protection for abortion than Roe v. Wade, which was decided based on the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
There is, however, a possibility and hope for a different and more positive result in this case by the time it finishes its march through the Iowa state court system. Since the bad 2018 ruling, Governor Reynolds, a pro-life conservative, has appointed four justices to the state’s seven-person Supreme Court. Hopefully, her picks will prove to be sufficiently conservative that the end result will be more respect for the state legislature’s attempt to protect women and promote life, and ultimately a victory for this new law.
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