Iowa legislature passes 24-hour waiting period. Governor expected to sign soon

By Dave Andrusko

One more piece of pro-life legislation will be on the books in short order in Iowa. Over the weekend, a bill to require a 24-hour period of reflection passed the state House and the state Senate. The House vote was 53-42 ; the Senate passed the bill 31-16. It is now on the desk of pro-life Gov. Kim Reynolds.

State Rep. Sandy Salmon, R-Janesville explained, “Waiting periods help ensure that decisions are made not under duress and not under undue influences. It’s the hope that after taking time to consider it, a woman would choose life over death.”

Rep. Salmon added, “Iowans want to see unborn lives protected. …This bill is a big step in that direction,” The Des Moines Register’s Stephen Gruber-Miller and Ian Richardson reported.

According to the two reporters, “The bill says a woman could not have an abortion for at least 24 hours after an initial appointment. At that appointment, the woman would have to be given the opportunity to view an ultrasound scan of the fetus and information about abortion and other options, including adoption.” 

Needless to say, pro-abortion Democrats criticized the proposal. “It’s appalling to see my GOP colleagues exploit this moment of national pandemic to advance an ideological agenda that is out of touch with Iowans,” huffed Rep. Beth Wessel-Kroeschell, D-Ames.

However, Rep. Shannon Lundgren, the bill’s floor manager, defending the waiting period. “24 hours is not an unreasonable amount of time to think about a decision that impacts more than just one life,” she said.

Gruber-Miller and Richardson  wrote that on the House floor, Lundgren also reminded colleagues that

other waiting periods in Iowa law, such as the three-day waiting period required after a child’s birth before a parent can put the child up for adoption and the 90-day period that must pass between the time a divorce decree is served and the marriage is dissolved.

Ingrid Duran, Director of State Legislation for NRLC, said, “Waiting periods before an abortion are critical for saving the lives of innocent children and ensuring that women have a right to know and weigh all of the facts prior to an abortion. Twenty-nine states have established laws ensuring that mothers are given a period of time to reflect before making a life and death decision,”

As NRL News Today reported previously, in June 2018, the Iowa Supreme Court overturned the state’s requirement that women wait 72 hours before having an abortion, be given the opportunity to view an ultrasound scan, and be provided with information about alternatives.

The decision was written by Chief Justice Mark Cady overturned the 2017 law which was signed by then governor Terry Branstad.

Since that time, The Des Moines Register reported,

The makeup of the seven-member Iowa Supreme Court has changed since the 2018 ruling. Since then, Reynolds, a Republican, has appointed four new justices to the court, replacing two Democrat-appointed justices and two Republican-appointed justices. Republican governors have now appointed six of the court’s members.