Lawsuit filed to block Iowa’s 24-hour abortion waiting period

By: - June 23, 2020 4:11 pm

Hundreds of people gathered at the Iowa Capitol Feb. 25, 2020, for a public hearing on a House resolution that stated abortions are not protected under the Iowa Constitution. (Photo by Linh Ta/Iowa Capital Dispatch)

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and ACLU of Iowa filed a lawsuit Tuesday to block a 24-hour abortion waiting period from going into effect July 1, according to a news release.

Before ending its session, the Iowa Legislature passed the 24-hour waiting period, which will require women to wait a day before getting an abortion, except in the case of a medical emergency. It does not make an exception for rape or incest.

Republican supporters of the bill said they were attempting to roll back a 2018 Iowa Supreme Court ruling that struck down a 72-hour waiting period for abortion. That ruling established abortion as a right in Iowa.

But since the 2018 court ruling, the Legislature has changed the judicial nominating process. Reynolds, a Republican, has appointed four Supreme Court justices to date, including two this year.

Reynolds is expected to sign the waiting period bill into law. Planned Parenthood and ACLU also filed a temporary injunction to block the law from going into effect July 1, according to a news release.

“This legislation is billed as a 24-hour waiting period law, but make no mistake — in many cases, it will delay a person’s ability to get an abortion by weeks,” said Erin Davison-Rippey, Iowa executive director of Planned Parenthood North Central States, in a statement. “Many of our patients must drive four or more hours one way for abortion services, so this legislation will only create more hurdles to getting care. It’s already hard enough for many Iowans to access abortion services, especially in the middle of a global pandemic. This is clearly a political ploy to create barriers to sexual and reproductive health care in Iowa.”

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