Iowa Tells State Supreme Court: There is No Right to Kill Babies in Abortions

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Feb 23, 2022   |   6:37PM   |   Des Moines, Iowa

Iowa leaders urged their state Supreme Court on Wednesday to overturn its erroneous 2018 ruling that found a “right” to abortion in the Iowa Constitution.

The Associated Press reports the Iowa Supreme Court considered arguments from state Assistant Attorney General Sam Langholz and lawyers for Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union about the 2018 ruling and a 2020 pro-life informed consent law.

The case involves a 2020 law that ensures abortion facilities give women the opportunity to see their unborn babies on an ultrasound and hear their baby’s heartbeat at least 24 hours prior to the abortion. In addition, Iowa requires abortion facilities to provide women with information about abortion risks and resources available for parenting and adoption, and to confirm in writing that the women received it.

A state judge blocked the law, citing the 2018 Iowa Supreme Court ruling, but Gov. Kim Reynolds and 60 pro-life state lawmakers appealed.

During oral arguments Wednesday, Langholz urged the court to overturn its 2018 ruling and allow the courts to reconsider the informed consent law, according to the report.

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Lawyer Chris Schandovel, who represents the state lawmakers, said the Iowa Supreme Court was wrong in declaring abortion to be a right, KIWA Radio reports. He said fundamental rights are deeply rooted in the history and tradition of the state, and Iowa prohibited abortions starting in 1843.

Quoting U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Schandovel told the court, “When the constitution is silent and therefore neutral on an issue like abortion, the courts have a responsibility to be scrupulously neutral on those subjects, leaving them to the people to regulate through their elected representatives.”

However, Rita Bettis-Austen, a lawyer for the Planned Parenthood abortion chain, argued that the informed consent law should remain blocked because state lawmakers did not follow the proper process in passing the legislation, according to KIWA.

There is more hope that the pro-life law will withstand a legal challenge and the court will overturn its 2018 ruling. According to the Des Moines Register, Reynolds appointed four justices to the seven-member Iowa Supreme Court, and only one current justice was appointed by a Democrat.

The U.S. Supreme Court also has upheld informed consent laws similar to Iowa’s 24-hour waiting period.

Informed consent laws protect unborn babies from abortion and hurt the abortion industry’s profits. Research indicates that when women see ultrasound images of their unborn babies, they are more likely to choose life. A 2017 study out of the University of California San Francisco also suggests that some women do change their minds about abortion as a result of informed consent laws.

A majority of states require a waiting period prior to an abortion and 35 require informed consent counseling, which typically includes facts about an unborn baby’s development, the risks of abortion and alternatives to abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute.