19
Wed, Jun

In Victory for 'Bodily Autonomy and Freedom,' Iowa Supreme Court Rejects Abortion Ban

IMPORTANT READS

IOWA SUPREME COURT DECISION - Reproductive rights advocates applauded a ruling handed down Friday by the Iowa Supreme Court that upheld an injunction against a 2018 law that would have made abortion care illegal before many people even know they are pregnant—but noted that federal protections are needed to make crucial healthcare accessible to everyone in the U.S., regardless of "which state you live in."

"Your ZIP code shouldn't determine who controls your uterus," said Ruth Richardson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood North Central States. "Each person deserves control of their body, and Iowans have that right, based on today's court decision."

The high court ruled 3-3, declining to lift a 2019 injunction that was handed down by a district court against the 2018 six-week abortion ban. A majority ruling was required to end the injunction.

"It would be ironic and troubling for our court to become the first state Supreme Court in the nation to hold that trash set out in a garbage can for collection is entitled to more constitutional protection than a woman's interest in autonomy and dominion over her own body."

Abortion now remains legal in Iowa up to 20 weeks of pregnancy, but because the court ruled based on concerns about procedure—saying that Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds' appeal to a district court decision upholding the injunction was too late—the Iowa Legislature could still draft new legislation banning abortion at six weeks.

"The decision today affirmed the district court ruling by operation of law, leaving the decision undisturbed," said Rita Bettis Austen, legal director for the ACLU of Iowa. "The district court rightly rejected the state's unprecedented legal maneuvers to try to ban abortion in our state. This law was dangerous, cruel, and unconstitutional when the district court blocked it four years ago, and it's still dangerous, cruel, and unconstitutional today. Many Iowans were depending on the outcome of the case today, and we are celebrating the preservation of our freedom, health, and safety.”

Justice Thomas Waterman wrote in his opinion that Reynolds' administration "failed to establish that the district court acted illegally" and referenced a 2021 state Supreme Court ruling that prohibited police officers from searching a resident's trash without a warrant.

"It would be ironic and troubling for our court to become the first state Supreme Court in the nation to hold that trash set out in a garbage can for collection is entitled to more constitutional protection than a woman's interest in autonomy and dominion over her own body," said Waterman.

Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, noted that Iowa "has served as a critical access point" for people across the Midwest since the right-wing majority on the U.S. Supreme Court overturnedRoe v. Wade a year ago.

"With this ruling, thousands of patients seeking care in the state and beyond can continue to receive the necessary, lifesaving care that they need. This is a victory for Iowans' bodily autonomy and freedom, and Planned Parenthood remains committed to defending patients' fundamental right to an abortion," said McGill Johnson.

"Abortion is healthcare and must be accessible in every corner of our country," said Jayapal, who has spoken openly about her own abortion. "I won't stop fighting for federal protections so that all Americans can make their own healthcare decisions."

 

(Julia Conley is a staff writer for Common Dreams where this story was first published.)

Get The News In Your Email Inbox Mondays & Thursdays