Just days ago, the Iowa Legislature passed a so-called "24-hour waiting period” bill without public input in the middle of the night. Along with Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and Planned Parenthood Federation of America, we’re suing to stop it.
The legislation, which Gov. Reynolds is expected to sign, would require people seeking an abortion to make a medically unnecessary additional clinic appointment at least 24 hours before their procedure. The law would cause excessive hardship for all Iowans, but especially those who must take time off work or school, arrange and pay for child care, and drive hours to get health care. In many cases, it will delay a person's ability to get an abortion by weeks.
The lawsuit seeks a temporary injunction to block the law from going into effect July 1. A temporary injunction would allow Iowans to maintain current access to abortion care.
In 2018, the Iowa Supreme Court rejected a 72-hour forced waiting period law. The Court ruled that the government had no compelling reason to mandate the waiting period and additional appointment, and held that the Iowa Constitution affords its highest possible level of constitutional protection to the right to an abortion. That precedent requires that this law be struck down.
Iowans are tired of these endless attacks on the fundamental constitutional right to abortion. Support for access to safe, legal abortion is at a record high—with more than three-fourths of Americans not wanting to see Roe v. Wade overturned, the highest rate since the case was decided more than 40 years ago.
This law is all the more shocking in light of the public health and economic crisis Iowans are contending with because it puts the health of patients, health care providers, and the community at greater risk of coronavirus. Right now, Iowans are asking their elected representatives for help just to make ends meet and protect them and their loved ones from COVID-19.
Mandatory delays and additional trips to the clinic don’t change people’s minds—they only serve to try to shame them and put obstacles in their way.