June 20, 2022

Iowa Supreme Court Rules There is No Right to Abortion in State Constitution

The Iowa Supreme Court issued a decision on June 17 ruling that the state's constitution does not include a fundamental right to abortion. The decision reinstates a 72-hour waiting period law, and it returns a 24-hour waiting period law to the district court.

Justice Edward M. Mansfield wrote the majority opinion for this case. He wrote that the Iowa Supreme Court's 2018 ruling establishing a right to abortion “insufficiently recognizes that future human lives are at stake and we must disagree with the views of today’s dissent that ‘[t]he state does not have a legitimate interest in protecting potential life before viability.'”

Mansfield also wrote about the often pro-abortion interpretations of stare decisis and "living" constitutions.

"PPH II [the 2018 decision] was overtly based on the notion of a “living” constitution…. To the extent PPH II viewed constitutional interpretation as an evolutionary process rather than a search for fixed meaning, it is hard now to argue that the evolutionary process had to end as soon as PPH II was decided. Does the Iowa Constitution get to “live” until 2018, at which point it must stop living?"

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds released a statement on Twitter applauding the court's ruling. “Today’s ruling is a significant victory in our fight to protect the unborn. The Iowa Supreme Court reversed its earlier 2018 decision, which made Iowa the most abortion-friendly state in the country. Every life is sacred and should be protected, and as long as I’m governor that is exactly what I will do.”