Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks at the National Day of Prayer event on May 5, 2022 at the Iowa Capitol. (Photo by Katie Akin/Iowa Capital Dispatch)
Children from the Mount Olive Lutheran Church & School stood side-by-side in the rotunda of the Iowa Capitol Thursday and recited a poem: “Just a speck, some would say, but God brought me to life that day.”
The Mount Olive kids were the opening act for the National Day of Prayer, an hours-long series of songs and prayers offered by state leaders. The event came just days after a leaked Supreme Court document suggested justices may overturn federal abortion protections.
Gov. Kim Reynolds told the crowd of a few dozen that the draft decision was a “glimmer of light” for opponents of abortion.
“Nothing is decided yet, and it’s clear that the justices are facing tremendous pressure to compromise on the truth. So today, they need our prayers now more than ever,” she said. “And let’s not rest until our laws and our society recognize that all human beings are precious, no matter how small.”
If Roe v. Wade is overturned, abortion laws would not immediately change in Iowa. The state Supreme Court determined in 2018 that Iowa’s constitution recognizes a right to an abortion, a precedent that conservative lawmakers have been trying to undo ever since.
Reynolds told reporters Thursday that she will wait for a decision on Roe v. Wade before considering any new abortion legislation at the state level.
“We don’t know when the final ruling is gonna come through,” she said. “We’re working on a constitutional amendment, so we have a lot of things that are in the works. We’ve got an issue before our Supreme Court.”
Reynolds did not respond to a question about whether she favored any exceptions to abortion bans. She restated her commitment to “protect the unborn.”
“Somebody needs to stand up for the unborn, and I’m proud of my record and doing just that,” she said.
Reynolds has signed into law several restrictions on abortion: In 2018, she signed into law a “heartbeat” bill, prohibiting most abortions beyond about six weeks of pregnancy. She approved a 24-hour waiting period for abortions in 2020.
Iowa judges blocked both laws, but the 24-hour waiting period awaits a final hearing by the Iowa Supreme Court. A decision in that case might override the 2018 precedent that found a right to an abortion, effectively clearing the way for Iowa lawmakers to restrict the procedure if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
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