The Iowa Supreme Court has ruled a three-day waiting period for women seeking an abortion is unconstitutional.
The waiting period was part of a state law passed last year that bans abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy. The 20-week-ban part of the law took effect in May of 2017. Republican lawmakers argued requiring a woman to wait three days after her initial appointment for an abortion gave her time to consider all options and medical risks.
“In making this decision,” Chief Justice Mark Cady wrote, “we recognize the continuing debate in society over abortion and acknowledge the right of government to reasonably regulate the constitutional right of women to terminate a pregnancy. In carefully considering the case, we conclude the statute enacted by our legislature, while intended as a reasonable regulation, violates both the due process and equal protection clauses of the Iowa Constitution because its restrictions on women are not narrowly tailored to serve a compelling interest of the State.”
This ruling overturning the three-day waiting period aligns with the court’s 2015 decision on so-called “telemedicine” abortion. Three years ago, the Iowa Supreme Court overturned Iowa Board of Medicine regulations that required a doctor to conduct a physical exam before a medication-induced abortion.
The state law passed this year that bans nearly all abortions was put on hold until all court challenges are completed. Abortion opponents are hoping President Trump will appoint a justice to the U.S. Supreme Court who will side with the four conservatives already there and overturn Roe v Wade. That’s the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court opinion that legalized abortion in the country.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa and Planned Parenthood of the Heartland officials have scheduled a news conference this afternoon to discuss today’s Iowa Supreme Court ruling.