The top Democrat in the Iowa House expects Republicans will propose new abortion restrictions during the 2022 Iowa Legislature session, even before the U.S. Supreme Court decides a case that could reverse the 1973 ruling that legalized abortion.
“If anything, I think Republicans would be emboldened by the potential for this Supreme Court going their way and can’t help themselves and would want to do something to continue to attack women,” says House Minority Leader Jennifer Konfrst of Windsor Heights.
In a recorded message released Monday, Governor Kim Reynolds said she hopes two federal rulings that have blocked abortion restrictions in states like Iowa will be overruled by the new conservative-leaning U.S. Supreme Court. Konfrst says Reynolds does not represent the majority view on abortion, as a recent Des Moines Register Iowa Poll found 57% of Iowans believe abortion should be legal in most or all cases.
“And yet the governor has decided to once again to amplify minority opinions, amplify those that are not in line with what Iowans believe and pretend that it represents the entire state,” Konfrst says.
The U.S. Supreme Court is considering a Mississippi law that forbids abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy. Reynolds has approved attempts to ban abortions in Iowa after the sixth week of pregnancy or to require waiting periods for abortions. This fall, Reynolds asked the Iowa Supreme Court to reverse a 2018 opinion that said women have a fundamental right to an abortion under Iowa’s constitution.
“The governor continues to lean into extremist views, extremist beliefs and to pretend that they represent the entire state,” Konfrst says, “and Iowans are fed up.”
Konfrst expects abortion will be a big issue in legislative races in 2022. “We’re going to point it out,” Konfrst says. “We’re going to make sure that Iowans know that when Republicans are voting in the legislature, they’re voting on extreme legislation that doesn’t match what Iowans want and we’re going to hold them accountable.”
Konfrst made her comments during the weekly news conference organized by the Iowa Democratic Party.
The Iowa Republican Party’s leading 2022 candidates — Reynolds, Senator Chuck Grassley and the three Iowa Republicans serving in the U.S. House — all oppose abortion, as do nearly all of the Republicans serving in the Iowa legislature.