Iowans reacts to Iowa Supreme Court Abortion Decision (2024)

WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL) - Since the Iowa Supreme Court ruled to uphold Governor Reynolds' abortion law, banning abortions once fetal heart activity is detected in the womb, which is typical 6-8 weeks into gestation, emotions have been running high for Iowans on both sides of the issue.

Abortion rights groups are calling this a dark day in the state's history. A solidarity circle organized by Planned Parenthood took place on Friday evening in Lincoln Park in Downtown Waterloo. It is one of several events across the state.

Before the decision came down, a coalition of anti-abortion rights leaders held a prayer gathering in Des Moines on Friday morning. Once it was announced, they rejoiced at the state capitol. Maggie DeWitte, the executive director of Pulse Life Advocates, called the decision from the high court a monumental win for Iowa women, families, and babies.

She said the ruling is a monumental step forward for human rights.

"That child in her mother's womb is a baby and has a unique and distinctive person from their mother, with their DNA, fingerprints and heartbeat," DeWitte said. "Now she will be protected under Iowa law."

Abortion rights advocates expressed disappointment with the Iowa Supreme Court decision.

"This is a matter of individuals in Iowa being able to make their own medical decisions without the presence of our governor, our legislature, and our courts in the exam room with them," Dr. Emily Boevers, an OBGYN and Iowans for Health Liberty co-founder, said.

Dr. Boevers said it would be catastrophic to the health and safety of Iowa women.

"We've been put in positions where we want to take excellent care of patients, but the legislature, the governor, and the courts are tying our hands and disallowing us to use medically standard care to provide life-saving or life-changing options for our patients," Dr. Boevers said. "I believe that this will result in more doctors leaving the state of Iowa and increased difficulty in recruiting and retaining the doctors we have."

Abortion rights groups say most women are unaware they are pregnant at around six weeks, and women would receive significant delays in care if they went to another state to seek an abortion. Some might be unable to do so because of logistical and financial hurdles, which are other burdens women face.

Ruth Richardson, the President and CEO of Planned Parenthood North Central States, said women would be forced to carry pregnancies against their will or seek abortion outside the healthcare system,

"This abortion ban is going to be catastrophic to the health, safety and lives of too many people. Especially Iowa's black, Latino and Indigenous communities, young people, LGBTQ plus people and those with low incomes are living in rural areas," Richardson said. "Today's ruling is a staggering blow to Iowans, and it will take years to undo the health impacts that will be around for generations to come."

Planned Parenthood said it will continue to provide abortion care under the law. When it takes effect in a few weeks, they will only provide access to abortion care if no cardiac activity is detected.

Since 2018, Planned Parenthood said it has provided abortions to more than 11,500 Iowans. Planned Parenthood and the Emma Goldman Clinic say the vast majority of abortions in Iowa are after the cutoff point.

They have been planning for this for months, including deploying patient navigators to connect patients with services out of state.

Dr. Boevers said she might recommend more patients seek care outside of Iowa

"This will, unfortunately, make it a lot more common because, unfortunately, pregnancy is a challenging and dangerous condition that can affect people unpredictably," Dr. Boevers said. "You never know when a woman who has what was a normal pregnancy may go on several weeks later to have a pregnancy that becomes life-threatening."

As anti-abortion rights groups celebrate a landmark victory, DeWitte said there is more work to do.

"The gold standard for the pro-life movement has been and will always be life at conception. We're working towards a goal where all life, from fertilization until natural death, is protected under our law," DeWitte said. "We're going to continue to strive towards that goal to eliminate abortion from the state of Iowa altogether."

Abortion rights groups say their fight isn't over.

"We are focused, and we are ready to continue the battle to restore dignity, bodily autonomy, and access to full spectrum reproductive healthcare," Francine Thompson, the Executive Director of the Emma Goldman Clinic, said.

Iowans reacts to Iowa Supreme Court Abortion Decision (2024)

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