The Iowa Supreme Court has blocked a controversial abortion law that would have required women seeking an abortion to wait 72 hours, the Des Moines Register is reporting.
In 2017, the Buckeye State, then headed by Governor Terry Brandstad, decreed that a woman seeking an abortion would first have to wait 72 hours after an initial appointment for an abortion. She would also have to be given information about abortion as well as other options such as adoption, and offered the opportunity to view an ultrasound of her fetus.
In a 5-2 decision, the court ruled that the law violates both the due process clause and the equal protection clause of the state’s Constitution. Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady, writing on behalf of the majority, says that the law doesn’t serve the “compelling interests” of the state.
“The state has a legitimate interest in informing women about abortion, but the means used under the statute enacted does not meaningfully serve that objective. Because our constitution requires more, we reverse the decision of the district court.”
Cady also noted that the law would require some Iowa women to travel great distances, twice, due to the limited number of abortion clinics in Iowa. That would burden them financially with travel and lodging costs.
“An objective review of the evidence shows that women do not change their decision to have an abortion due to a waiting period.”
Writing for the dissent, Justice Edward Mansfield, who is rumored to be on Donald Trump’s list of nominees to replace Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court, noted that Iowa has a 72-hour waiting period for marriage and a 90-day waiting period for divorce.
“So why can’t the legislature impose a waiting period before an abortion?”
Iowa currently has two other restrictive abortion laws on its books — laws that are now likely in jeopardy in light of the recent decision. According to The Hill, Iowa has a law that bans abortion after 20 weeks, no questions asked, as well as a law that prohibits abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected.
Those laws are now doomed, says Drake University law professor Mark Kende, who says that the court’s decision is “pretty much a death knell” for Iowa’s restrictive abortion laws.
As of this writing, attorneys for both the American Civil Liberties Union of the Heartland and Planned Parenthood, which brought the case before the court, have not returned calls for comment, according to ABC News.