US: Iowa Supreme Court rules against abortion protections

Iowa Updated: Jun 18, 2022, 08:39 AM(IST)

File photo: Abortion rights activists rally outside the US Supreme Court in Washington. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The court's judgement is a reversal of its 2018 decision, in which it held that the due process provision of the Iowa constitution protected abortion as a basic right. The state's high court struck down a state law requiring a 72-hour waiting time for an abortion as unconstitutional in a 2018 ruling delivered before the state's Republican governor nominated four of the seven current justices.

The Iowa state Supreme Court overruled a 2018 judgement that stated that Iowans have a constitutional right to abortion. June 17's decision, combined with the possibility of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that established a countrywide right to abortion, would give Iowa politicians far more leeway in passing and enforcing draconian abortion restrictions.

In a challenge to a 2020 legislation providing a 24-hour waiting period before an abortion, the Iowa Supreme Court issued a split judgement. On Friday, it remained unclear whether the judgement meant that the law, which had been blocked by a district judge, would go into effect. Representatives from Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, which filed a lawsuit against the law, said they are working on the assumption that it does.

The court's prior finding recognising a constitutional right to abortion "insufficiently recognises that future human lives are at stake," according to the majority opinion. It remanded the case to a lower court for further review.

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In their lawsuit against the waiting period, Planned Parenthood said that the law's enactment had broken procedural norms and placed an unlawful barrier on women seeking abortions.

Since the 2018 decision, the Supreme Court's composition has evolved, with Republican Governor Kim Reynolds nominating four of the seven members.

While the court on Friday rejected the finding of a state constitutional right to abortion, it did not specify what the new criteria should be.


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