The following statement can be attributed to ACLU of Iowa Legal Director Rita Bettis Austen:
Despite today’s devastating decision from the U.S. Supreme Court, we want to emphasize that abortion remains safe and legal in Iowa. Iowans want to keep it that way, and in the face of this shocking and dangerous decision, we will not give up the fight for abortion rights.
The impact of today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision is very frightening for the health, safety, freedom, and equality of Iowans. It removes the federal constitutional protections that, along with state protections, previously prevented Iowa politicians from passing laws that banned abortion altogether.
Recently, the Iowa Supreme Court dealt a different but also devastating blow to abortion rights in Iowa. The state supreme court issued a decision that the Iowa Constitution does not provide a fundamental right to an abortion, undoing a previous 5-2 Iowa Supreme Court decision that strongly protected abortion access. The Iowa Supreme Court did not remove all protections under the Iowa Constitution, but it did dramatically reduce the level of those protections in place for now.
Abortion access in Iowa is dictated, in part, by interpretations of both the U.S. Constitution (by the U.S. Supreme Court) and the Iowa Constitution (by the Iowa Supreme Court). Lawmakers must make laws that comply with both.
The ACLU of Iowa and other reproductive rights allies remain committed to working to ensure that people in Iowa are able to keep access to abortion services. Going forward, it will be more important than ever that Iowans maintain the protections that remain under the Iowa Constitution for abortion rights and work to protect abortion rights through the political process.
We will continue to fight a proposed Iowa Constitutional amendment that would alter the Iowa Constitution to say that there is no right to an abortion in our state at all. In order to take effect, that amendment must be passed a second time by the Iowa Legislature. Then it must be passed by voters, and most likely will be on the ballot in the 2024 election. If passed, that would take away all state constitutional protection for abortion rights that are left remaining after the Iowa Supreme Court decision this year. We must defeat it.