DES MOINES, Iowa – A Supreme Court ruling Friday that overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision guaranteeing a constitutional right to abortion won’t make an immediate change to abortion rights in Iowa – but that could change if Republican lawmakers get their way.
A 2018 ruling by the Iowa Supreme Court determined the right to abortion was protected by the state’s constitution. In its 5-2 decision the court said, “autonomy and dominion over one’s body go to the very heart of what it means to be free.”
But just last week a lower court’s decision that struck down a 2020 law requiring a 24-hour waiting period before getting an abortion was overturned by the Iowa Supreme Court. In its ruling the court, which is now made up of mostly Republican appointees, cited the 2018 decision and said at the time the court wrongly determined that abortion was among the fundamental privacy rights guaranteed by the Iowa Constitution.
Republican lawmakers could now move forward with severely limiting or even banning abortion in Iowa in the next legislative session. Republicans hold the majority in both the Iowa House and Iowa Senate and Republican governor Kim Reynolds has expressed a desire to ban abortion in the state.