Iowa Supreme Court rejects 72-hour abortion waiting period

The Iowa Supreme Court has rejected a proposed 72-hour waiting period for abortions in the state.It would have...

Posted: Jul 1, 2018 4:57 PM
Updated: Jul 1, 2018 4:57 PM

The Iowa Supreme Court has rejected a proposed 72-hour waiting period for abortions in the state.

It would have required a woman seeking an abortion to wait three days before having the procedure.

The ruling sides with a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood of Iowa and the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa. The organizations sued the state over the law approved by lawmakers last year.

Chief Justice Cady had the majority opinion:

"In this appeal, we must decide if the constitutional right of women

to choose to terminate a pregnancy is unreasonably restricted by a

statute that prohibits the exercise of the right for a period of seventy-two

hours after going to a doctor. In making this decision, we recognize the

continuing debate in society over abortion and acknowledge the right of

government to reasonably regulate the constitutional right of women to

terminate a pregnancy. In carefully considering the case, we conclude

the statute enacted by our legislature, while intended as a reasonable

regulation, violates both the due process and equal protection clauses of

the Iowa Constitution because its restrictions on women are not narrowly

tailored to serve a compelling interest of the State. The State has a

legitimate interest in informing women about abortion, but the means

used under the statute enacted does not meaningfully serve that

objective. Because our constitution requires more, we reverse the

decision of the district court."

The ruling was 5-2. The two dissenting justices were Thomas Waterman & Edward Mansfield. Mansfield wrote the dissent and is reportedly on President Donald Trump's short list to replace U.S. Supreme Court Justice Kennedy.

This portion of a 20-week abortion ban law passed through the legislature in 2017, but has been on hold ever since.

This ruling does not affect the pending ruling on the fetal heartbeat law passed in 2018.

The president of a national abortion-rights organization says the Iowa Supreme Court acted "absolutely appropriately" in striking down a 72-hour waiting period for women seeking an abortion.

Ilyse Hogue is president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. She told reporters outside of the Iowa Capitol that Friday's ruling upholds precedent, the rights of Iowa women and their "dignity and respect."

Hogue says U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley should consider those issues when advancing any U.S. Supreme Court nominee chosen by President Donald Trump to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. Grassley is Iowa's senior senator and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Hogue has said she believes a pick from a circulated conservative list of possible candidates could eventually overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that upheld a woman's right to an abortion.

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