Capital Clicks

Iowa Republicans call for Supreme Court to overturn abortion decisions, including Roe

By: - July 30, 2021 3:06 pm

The Guardian or Authority of Law, created by sculptor James Earle Fraser, rests on the side of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Al Drago/Getty Images)

Gov. Kim Reynolds and 11 other Republican governors are calling for the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn several decisions on abortions, giving states more power to regulate the procedure.

An amicus brief filed Thursday argues that allowing states to decide abortion laws would deescalate tensions on the controversial issue and permit the states “to serve as laboratories of democracy for establishing and implementing suitable abortion regulations based on the latest scientific knowledge.” The brief asks the Supreme Court to reconsider rulings including Roe v. Wade, a 1973 decision that found the Constitution protects a right to an abortion, and Planned Parenthood of Southeast Pennsylvania v. Casey, a 1992 decision that upheld that right and prevents states from enacting laws that create an “undue burden” on people seeking abortions.

The amicus brief is part of an upcoming Supreme Court case on a Mississippi law that would ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Reynolds said state governments have been “stymied by the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade.”

“For too long, this precedent has trampled on state sovereignty and destroyed the lives of millions of unborn babies,” Reynolds said in a news release.

Iowa’s D.C. delegation (sans Democrat Cindy Axne) signed onto a similar amicus brief Thursday. Reps. Randy Feenstra, Mariannette Miller-Meeks and Ashley Hinson joined Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst and over 200 other GOP politicians urging the court to overturn Roe v. Wade in their ruling on the Mississippi law.

“It is long overdue for this Court to return lawmaking to legislators,” the brief reads.

In Iowa, several abortion laws have been struck down by state courts. The Iowa Supreme Court ruled in 2018 that a 72-hour waiting period was unconstitutional under the Iowa Constitution — the court found that Iowa women have a fundamental right to an abortion. A district court ruled this year that a 24-hour waiting period would also be unconstitutional.

Iowa lawmakers approved a proposed constitutional amendment that make explicit that Iowa does not recognize a right to an abortion, essentially undoing the 2018 Iowa Supreme Court decision. That amendment needs to be approved in another legislative session, then put to a vote by the general public.

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Katie Akin
Katie Akin

Reporter Katie Akin began her career as an intern at PolitiFact, debunking viral fake news and fact-checking state and national politicians. She moved to Iowa in 2019 for a politics internship at the Des Moines Register, where she assisted with Iowa Caucus coverage, multimedia projects and the Register’s Iowa Poll. She became the Register’s retail reporter in early 2020, chronicling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Central Iowa’s restaurants and retailers.