Iowa Supreme Court Rules Abortion is Not Protected by the Iowa Constitution

Photo: Keegan Turnbough

(Des Moines, IA) -- The Iowa Supreme Court rules the right to an abortion is not protected by the Iowa Constitution. The ruling comes as the state high court overturns a decision from a district court.

A judge in Johnston ruled a 2020 abortion law, requiring women to wait 24-hours before seeking an abortion, was unconstitutional. Governor Kim Reynolds appealed the ruling, leading to the Iowa Supreme Court to take up an abortion waiting period law for the second time in four years.

In 2018, the Iowa Supreme Court struck down an abortion law requiring women to wait 72-hours before seeking an abortion, citing that abortion is a right protected by the Iowa Constitution. Since the ruling, Governor Reynolds signed a law, altering the judge selection process. In 2022, the Iowa Supreme Court is made up of six Republican-appointed judges, including four picked by Reynolds.

In the majority opinion, authored by Justice Edward Mansfield, the Iowa Supreme Court rejects "the proposition that there is a fundamental right to an abortion in Iowa’s Constitution", reversing the 2018 precedent set by the Court.

The Iowa Supreme Court reversing its decision, stating abortion is not a right protected by the Iowa Constitution, opens the door for the Republican-led State Legislature to pass abortion restrictions in the future. Although, the state high court stated in the majority opinion the Iowa Supreme Court reserves the right to deem future restrictions on abortion as unconstitutional due to the federal precedent of Roe v. Wade.

The ruling from the Iowa Supreme Court comes in lieu of the awaited decision from the U.S. Supreme Court where, according to a leaked draft, Roe v. Wade would be overturned.

After the Iowa Supreme Court rules the right to an abortion is not protection by the Iowa Constitution, a reversal of Roe v. Wade would open the door for Iowa to further restrict abortion, or even outright ban the practice altogether.

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