The court, which now consists almost entirely of conservatives, overturned a decision by the same body only four years earlier.
The Iowa Supreme Court, the state’s highest court, has ruled that the state’s constitution does not guarantee the right to abortionpaving the way for lawmakers to severely restrict or ban abortion if federal protections are removed.
Friday’s decision overturned a decision by the same body just four years earlier that abortion was a fundamental right guaranteed by both Iowa and federal law. The court has become more conservative in the years since and is now composed almost entirely of Republicans, according to the Associated Press.
The decision is the latest in a barrage of attacks against the right to abortion in the United States, with conservatives awaiting the end of Roe v. Wade, the remarkable Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion in the United States.
As today’s Conservative-dominated Supreme Court is likely to overturn that decision, the Iowa Supreme Court’s decision paves the way for criminalization of abortion in the state in case Roe is removed, without the more complicated step of amending the state constitution.
The ruling is the result of a lawsuit by abortion providers who challenged a 2020 law that made access to abortion more restrictive, imposing a 24-hour waiting period for people who want to have an abortion.
A judge ruled in favor of the group and against the law, citing a 2018 Supreme Court ruling declaring abortion fundamental right guaranteed by the Iowa Constitution. The 2018 decision was taken by a 5-2 majority, stating that “autonomy and domination of the body go to the heart of what it means to be free.”
Four years later, the political landscape changed. Conservative Gov. Kim Reynolds, a fierce opponent of abortion rights, named four new judges in the last five years, six of the seven judges in the court have been appointed by the republican governors. Iowa, a key state in the US election, voted for Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020.
Reynolds and conservative allies in the state legislature have expressed hope that the court will overturn the 2018 ruling and move to consolidate control over the commission that selects court nominees in the hands of the governor. Reynolds went on Twitter to praise the court’s decision, saying: “Today’s decision is a significant victory in our struggle to protect the unborn. “
As basic abortion rights are widely popular in the United States, conservatives are focusing on courts relatively isolated from public outrage to push through their attacks. against abortion.
Sami Schitz, the Democratic candidate for the Iowa state legislature, told Al Jazeera in an e-mail statement that “This decision is an attack on women – clear and simple.” Lawmakers have no place to interfere in anyone else’s decisions about pregnancy, abortion or when they want to start a family. “
The 2018 decision added Iowa to a list of five other states where abortion has been declared legal by the state’s supreme court, with Alaska, Florida, Kansas, Montana and Minnesota remaining.
Such decisions could pose a challenge for conservatives in those states who want to revoke the right to abortion if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Rowe vs. Wadewhich would leave the right to abortion to individual countries.
Florida passed a law this year banning abortions after 15 weeks, a period before which many women know they are pregnant. Proponents of abortion have said they will challenge it.
Reynolds said she was “proud” of a bill she signed in 2018 that banned abortions for six weeks, a period when many still do not know they are pregnant. The bill includes exceptions for rape, incest and situations where the mother’s life is in danger.
However, Reynolds did not say whether there would be such exceptions if Iowa banned abortion after Rowe’s conversion. According to the AP, Reynolds recently told reporters “I will not set any parameters.”