Wednesday, 5 July 2023

Iowa Governor Calls Special Session To ‘Fight Against The Inhumanity Of Abortion’

 Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds called the state legislature to a special session to revive the state’s abortion restrictions after the Iowa Supreme Court blocked the state’s Heartbeat Act last month.

The split court decision in June struck down a pre-Dobbs bill that would have banned abortion once a fetal heartbeat could be detected, around six weeks. After the law was invalidated by the state’s highest court, abortions were only banned after 20 weeks.

“Iowans have elected representatives willing to stand up for the rights of the unborn and, in doing so, they have voted strongly in support of pro-life principles and against the arbitrary destruction of innocent, defenseless lives,” the Republican said in a statement.

“I believe the pro-life movement is the most important human rights cause of our time.” Reynolds continued. “Not only will I continue to fight against the inhumanity of abortion, but I will also remain committed to supporting women in planning for motherhood, promoting fatherhood and parenting, and continuing policies that encourage strong families.”

The special session will begin July 11. It is unclear what a new abortion law would look like, since many of the current legislators were not yet in office when the legislature approved the 2018 Fetal Heartbeat Law. Some Republicans may want a stricter law, while others may not want to go as far.

It is also unclear whether the Iowa Supreme Court would strike down another pro-life law. Much of the court’s reasoning in striking down the 2018 law was that because it was enacted with no chance of being implemented under Roe v. Wade, the legislature would need to pass the law again for it to have force. 

The majority opinion in the court’s ruling also signaled an openness to lowering the legal bar abortion laws need to meet in the state, which could allow a new pro-life law to be ruled constitutional in a legal challenge. All of the justices were appointed by Republicans. 

Democrats in the state legislature are likely to oppose any measure further restricting abortion. State House Minority Leader Jennifer Konfrst said, “It’s clear the governor and GOP leaders aren’t listening to Iowans because a strong majority supports reproductive freedom.” Konfrst said Reynolds’ call for a special session “is all politics.”

“Republican extremists, led by Gov. Kim Reynolds, are rushing to take away Iowans’ established rights and personal freedoms. And they hope they can do it fast enough that Iowans won’t even notice,” state Senate Minority Leader Pam Jochum said. “Now is the time for Iowans to fight back against an extreme abortion ban that will cost women their lives as well as their freedom.”

Republicans have had mixed success in implementing pro-life laws across the nation, with victories in Indiana and North Carolina and disappointments in Kansas and Oklahoma

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