Iowa’s Constitution does not protect a so-called “right” to abortion, the state Supreme Court ruled Friday.
“The Iowa Supreme Court’s fractured decision came in a challenge over a 2020 law authorizing a 24-hour waiting period before an abortion,” the Des Moines Register reported.
And the ruling effectively overturned a 2018 state Supreme Court decision that said “autonomy and dominion over one’s body go to the very heart of what it means to be free.”
The waiting period case has now been remanded back to a state-level district court, according to The Associated Press.
Writing for the majority, Justice Edward Mansfield said the state constitution “is not the source of a” right to get abortion.
The 2018 decision, he explained, “insufficiently recognizes that future human lives are at stake.”
Notably, the Friday ruling did not say what constitutional standard should replace the one that the court struck down.
“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,” the ruling said.
Conservative lawmakers applauded the ruling.
“Today’s ruling is a significant victory in our fight to protect the unborn,” Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds said in a statement. “The Iowa Supreme Court reversed its earlier 2018 decision, which made Iowa the most abortion-friendly state in the country. Every life is sacred and should be protected, and as long as I’m governor that is exactly what I will do.”
Every life is sacred and should be protected, and as long as I’m governor that is exactly what I will do.
— Gov. Kim Reynolds (@IAGovernor) June 17, 2022
“Today’s Iowa Supreme Court 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,” House Speaker Pat Grassley added, according to WOWT.
The ruling comes as U.S. Supreme Court observers expect the nation’s highest court to soon issue a ruling that could strike down Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark decision that established a so-called constitutional right to abortion nationwide. A draft of the court’s opinion leaked earlier this year indicated that a majority of justices had voted to overturn Roe.