Media Contact

Cindy Garcia, ACLU of Iowa Communications Manager

July 6, 2023

The following statement can be attributed to ACLU of Iowa Executive Director Mark Stringer.

"It is deeply disappointing that Gov. Kim Reynolds has chosen to bring the Iowa State Legislature into special session with the express and sole purpose to further restrict and erode abortion rights in Iowa. While she has not released the specifics of her proposal, her statement Wednesday was crystal clear: She believes that one of the most personal decisions a woman can make should be made by politicians. This is wrong. Individuals, not the government, should decide if and when they start a family. The people in our state deserve better.

"It's disturbing that in her proclamation, she continues to use misleading and medically incorrect terminology. "Fetal heartbeat" legislation aims to block abortions for women at about six weeks after her last menstrual period, and just a week or two after a missed period, before many women know they are pregnant. It is not a fetus--it's an embryo at this stage--and it doesn't have a heart. We expect our elected officials to at least make decisions based on factually accurate terminology. Let's call it what it is: A six-week abortion ban, since evidence shows that this will eliminate about 98 percent of abortions in Iowa.

"As we have seen in other states, extreme abortion bans like these endanger women's health and lives when exceptions are drafted too narrowly, and put physicians’ medical licenses in jeopardy for following their best medical judgment to preserve the health and lives of their patient.

"Gov. Reynolds’ assault on the rule of law is without precedent in Iowa history. If allowed to pass, her attempts to undo decades of personal freedom will have a devastating impact on thousands of Iowans each year and shake the very foundation of our constitutional freedoms.

"It is important to remember that the Iowa State Legislature is not simply an arm of the Governor’s Office. Our legislators are independently elected to uphold our constitution and to serve Iowans, reflecting the needs and desires of Iowans. And polling shows that 61 percent of Iowans support abortion rights, especially in cases of rape, incest, and to protect the life and health of the woman.

"It will be our state legislators who decide what bill ends up on Gov. Reynold's desk once the special session is finished next week. We encourage them to exercise their independence and to vote with the best interests of their constituents in mind. They can make their own decisions, free from divisive and harmful national politics, and instead, with loyalty to our constitution and to our people."