Planned Parenthood blasts 24-hour waiting period on its way to Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds

By Dave Andrusko

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds
Photo: Gage Skidmore

As of this morning, Planned Parenthood is making critical noises about a new bill on its way to Iowa pro-life Kim Reynolds but it has not yet flatly said it would appeal the measure that requires a 24-hour period of reflection after an abortion-minded woman has her first appointment.

Over the weekend, the bill passed the state House and the state Senate. The House vote was 53-42 ; the Senate passed the bill 31-16.

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.”

Not so, complained Erin Davison-Rippey, Iowa Executive Director for Planned Parenthood North Central States. In a blistering statement, Davison-Rippey accused the Republican majority in the House and Senate of “remain[ing] determined to make it more difficult for Iowans to receive sexual and reproductive health care.” She added, “This law is really about shaming Iowans and making it harder to access abortion.”

The Des Moines Register’s Stephen Gruber-Miller and Ian Richardson reported that “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.”

Ingrid Duran, Director of State Legislation for NRLC, told NRL News Today, “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,”

In 2017, Iowa passed a law requiring 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. But in 2018, the Iowa Supreme Court overturned the law in a decision written by Chief Justice Mark Cady.

Davison-Rippey told Sam Sides that “Not only did [the state Supreme Court] say the 72-hour wait period is unconstitutional, but it made clear that access to abortion is a fundamental right.”

But as Sides noted, “However, the make-up of the Iowa Supreme Court has changed since then.” Quite true. As the Des Moines Register explained

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.

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

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.

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