Reactions to the Friday Iowa Supreme Court decision regarding abortion are falling along predictable political lines.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, a Republican, released the following statement today in response to the Iowa Supreme Court’s abortion ruling:
“Today’s ruling is a significant victory in our fight to protect the unborn. 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.”
Friday, the high court cleared the way for lawmakers to severely limit or even ban abortion in the state, reversing a decision by the court just four years ago that guaranteed the right to abortion under the Iowa Constitution.
The state Supreme Court, comprised almost entirely of Republican appointees, concluded that a less conservative court wrongly decided that abortion is among the fundamental privacy rights guaranteed by the Iowa Constitution and federal law.
Scott County Democrats
“I’m angry. As a woman, I feel that we are becoming second-class citizens and we are becoming the property of our government, and not given the rights of men,” Sheri Carnahan of Davenport, one of two vice chairs for Scott County Democrats, said Friday.
“The fact that the government is overseeing our medical care and denying us the right to make our own decisions, our right to have our own privacy when making those decisions – violates the right to liberty and justice for all,” she said.
In the state of Iowa, women make less money than men for the same jobs, including Latinas, who make 53 cents on every dollar that white men make for the same job, Carnahan said.
It was also wrong for the Iowa Supreme Court to act on abortion before the U.S. Supreme Court, which is expected to vote on Roe v. Wade later in the summer, she said.
If QC women lose the right to abortion, they can travel to Illinois, but it will be much more difficult for women across Iowa.
“What about women in other parts of our state, who can’t afford to drive the four hours?” Carnahan said. “It’s just wrong on so many levels. And I think it sets the tone for what Republicans are using as wedge issues – as far as LGBTQ folks, and rights being taken away or rescinded. All these things are stepping stones.”
“It’s frightening for me – for my children, for my grandchildren,” she said.
Democratic Iowa State Rep. Christina Bohannan, who’s a University of Iowa law professor running for Congress, blasted the Friday decision.
“This Iowa Supreme Court decision is wrong, and every Iowan should be horrified. With today’s ruling, the court undermined the rule of law in Iowa and stripped women of their fundamental right to make their own reproductive choices.” she said in a Friday release.
“We must reject the extreme effort to eliminate abortion rights, and we must fight to guarantee that women can make their own decisions about their bodies and their lives,” Bohannan said.
QC Democratic Socialists of America
“Quad Cities DSA condemns the Iowa Supreme Court’s ruling that further damages abortion rights,” the QC Democratic Socialists of America said Friday. “Abortion is not only still safe and legal in Iowa, but also overwhelmingly popular: nearly 80% of Americans support keeping access to abortions completely legal.
“Knowing this, it further proves what we at DSA have known for years: that the court system of the United States is a corrupt and undemocratic institution that does not serve the interests of the working class. The U.S. does not guarantee paid parental leave, has no free childcare, and no universal healthcare system, so the erosion of abortion rights means that workers will have less time and money to take care of their families, forcing people, particularly women and queer people, to work longer to make ends meet.”
The DSA encourages everyone who cares about abortion rights to donate to the Iowa Abortion Access Fund (https://www.iowaabortionaccessfund.org) to provide the means for people to continue to still have a safe and legal abortion.
Alliance Defending Freedom
“States have the strongest possible interest in protecting the most fundamental of our human rights—the right to life—and the Iowa Constitution doesn’t include anything to suggest that there is ‘a fundamental right’ to take innocent, unborn life,” said Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel Denise Harle, director of the ADF Center for Life.
“We are pleased Iowa’s high court recognized this and overturned its previous decision,” she said in a Friday release. “Now state legislators have substantially more freedom to protect the most vulnerable citizens and empower women with the time and information they need before making such a life-altering decision. As we argued in court and explained in the brief we filed on behalf of dozens of lawmakers, the court’s previous decision grossly overstepped its authority. The court today righted that wrong.”
On behalf of 60 state legislators, Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a friend-of-the-court brief and ADF senior counsel Chris Schandevel argued before the Iowa Supreme Court, asking the court to reverse its 2018 decision in Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, known as “PPH II.”
In PPH II, the court declared abortion “a fundamental right” and struck down a 72-hour waiting period that ensured women have the opportunity to receive and evaluate important health information before proceeding with an abortion. The state legislature later passed a 24-hour waiting period, the subject of the present litigation.
In Friday’s opinion, the court emphatically overruled PPH II, concluding that the decision “lacks textual and historical support,” and that its “constitutional footing is unsound.” The opinion continued, “textually, there is no support for PPH II’s reading of the due process clause as providing fundamental protection for abortion.”
The FAMiLY Leader
“Today is resounding victory, not just for life, but for proper and constitutional rule of law,” Bob Vander Plaats, president and CEO of The FAMiLY Leader, said in a Friday release. “In 2018, five unelected judges brazenly admitted to ignoring the original meaning of the Iowa Constitution to invent a so-called ‘right’ to abortion. Today the Iowa Supreme Court rejected such judicial activism and restored to all Iowans a more constitutional government.
“Today’s ruling moves us closer to the day the people of Iowa can protect pre-born children,” Vander Plaats said. “The future of abortion in Iowa remains uncertain. But this back-and-forth in the courts reveals the Protect Life Amendment is needed now more than ever. The people of Iowa cannot allow a future court to simply overrule them on a whim, like the judges did in 2018.
“The FAMiLY Leader (TFL) expresses gratitude to TFL Vice President and Chief Counsel Chuck Hurley, the Iowa Coalition of Pro-Life Leaders, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller and his team, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), ADF attorney Chris Schandevel, and the 60 Iowa legislators who signed on to an amicus brief urging the Iowa Supreme Court to overturn the 2018 decision,” Vander Plaats concluded. “Thank you for working diligently to stand up for the people of Iowa.”
Catholic Diocese of Davenport
The Diocese of Davenport on Friday sent the following statement (dated May 23) regarding the issue:
“Guided by science and faith, Catholics are praying fervently that the U.S. Supreme Court will overturn the claim to a constitutional right to abortion in its ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. A draft opinion leaked from the Court would seem to indicate majority support for a reversal of Roe v. Wade. This would have the effect of allowing many states to determine their own abortion policy.
“But not Iowa. In 2018, a Supreme Court decision created a fundamental right to abortion in Iowa. That’s why we advocate for the ‘Protect Life Amendment,’ so Iowans can once again debate abortion and perhaps even pass laws protecting preborn children.
“In the meantime, as we affirm the dignity and value of every human life, we welcome the possibility of saving countless unborn children as well as sparing women and families the pain of abortion.”