The opposing sides in the abortion debate here in Iowa are offering predictably opposing views on the Iowa Supreme Court’s ruling today that nullified a three-day waiting period for abortions.
Republican Governor Kim Reynolds issued a written statement, saying it is not “unreasonable to require 72 hours for someone to weigh their options.” Fred Hubbell, her Democratic opponent, called the ruling “appropriate.” Planned Parenthood of the Heartland CEO Suzanna DeBaca spoke this afternoon at a news conference organized by the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa.
“Today’s ruling is a victory and an immense relief for every Iowan who has ever needed access to a safe and legal abortion,” she said, “and for the health care providers who offer that compassionate care.”
AUDIO of news conference, 17:20
Chuck Hurley, chief legal counsel for The Family Leader — a Christian conservative group, held a news conference this afternoon outside the Iowa Supreme Court building.
“I am shocked that five out of seven of our Iowa Supreme Court judges can read the Iowa Constitution,” Hurley said, “…and then read in an imagined right to kill babies.”
AUDIO of Hurley’s news conference, 10:30
Hurley indicated abortion foes will argue today’s ruling is grounds for asking the federal courts to decide whether Iowa’s new law that bans nearly all abortions is constitutional.
“This makes the heartbeat bill, the heartbeat law and the heartbeat litigation even more important because Americans, not just Iowans, have seen ultrasound. We know what’s going on,” Hurley said. “We can hear the heartbeat.”
Rita Bettis Austen, the legal counsel for the ACLU of Iowa, said their lawsuit challenging the state’s new six week abortion ban is based on how the state constitution’s written, not the U.S. Constitution, so it can’t be moved to federal court.
The importance of today’s ruling on the three-day waiting period cannot be overstated, according to Bettis Austen.
“This is a tremendous civil rights victory, women’s rights victory, constitutional rights victory,” Bettis Austen said. “…The court was incredibly strong in recognizing the fundamental nature of this right to a safe and legal abortion in Iowa.”
Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady was the author of today’s opinion. Cady wrote that “autonomy and dominion over one’s body go at the very heart of what it means to be free.” Hurley, the legal counsel for The Family Leader, argued Cady ignored another freedom, the freedom to be born.