If Iowa Outlaws Abortion, Here Is What Nearby Options Look Like

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The US Supreme Court is on the verge of overturning abortion rights.

The draft opinion for the Supreme Court’s abortion case was reported Monday night by Politico. The draft confirms suspicions the Supreme Court will seize the opportunity to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling which has granted women the right to abortion for almost 50 years.

If Roe v. Wade falls, Iowa law wouldn’t instantly change.

But Republicans will likely work harder to pass a law or a state constitutional amendment to outlaw abortion in Iowa. Already, Gov. Kim Reynolds and Iowa Republicans have attempted to impose waiting periods and restrictions at six weeks into pregnancy.

Recent attempts have been halted by a 2018 Iowa Supreme Court decision, but Republicans are working to pass an amendment to the constitution that would override that. It’s already passed the legislature once and must pass again in 2023 or 2024 before appearing on the ballot.

So where would Iowans go for a safe, legal abortion? Here are the situations for Iowa’s six bordering states:

Illinois

Illinois is Iowa’s neighbor with the strongest women’s health guarantees and the most likely to maintain abortion access no matter what the US Supreme Court does or what happens in future elections. Illinois has a state law, the Reproductive Health Act, which explicitly guarantees the right to bodily autonomy for people seeking abortions.

There are no waiting periods in the state or requirements that the pregnant woman receive counseling before the procedure.

As the neighbor state with the strongest track record of electing Democrats, its pro-choice laws are likely to remain intact.

Missouri

Missouri’s situation is essentially the opposite of Illinois.

Missouri has a trigger law, so almost all abortions would be illegal in the state if Roe is overturned. The only exception is if the abortion would save the life of the mother.

The state has already implemented many restrictions under the current law, including serious restrictions on who can legally perform an abortion in Missouri. The one clinic that performs abortions is in St. Louis.

Most Missourians travel across the border to Illinois to receive care.

Minnesota

Minnesota has some restrictions, but the state’s supreme court recognized the right to abortion in the Minnesota Constitution. The regional Planned Parenthood believes the state could see a 10% to 25% increase in the number of abortions from people coming in from neighboring states.

The state bans the procedure after 20 weeks unless necessary to save the pregnant person’s life. It also requires a 24-hour waiting period and for the patient to receive counseling on the medical risks, the risks of carrying the pregnancy to term, and details about the fetus. Patients must also receive information about alternatives to abortion, including state benefits for prenatal care and a list of public and private adoption agencies.

Patients under age 18 must also wait until the physician has given written notice to the minor’s parents. Parents don’t have to give consent, but the procedure can’t be done until 48 hours have passed after the notice was delivered.

Nebraska

In April 2022, the Nebraska Legislature almost passed a trigger law for the state, but it failed to get the number of votes needed to end an eight-hour filibuster, which more or less killed the bill because there was no way to move forward. However, it’s widely expected that Nebraska would pass some sort of sweeping abortion ban after the US Supreme Court decision, it may just not happen right away.

Currently in Nebraska, abortions are legal until 20 weeks into the pregnancy. There is also a 24-hour waiting period for abortions. Patients must receive detailed information about the fetus, the supposed medical risks of abortion, state assistance for prenatal, childbirth and neonatal care, and information about adoption agencies in the state.

South Dakota

South Dakota has a trigger law and only one abortion clinic in the state, though there’s some question over whether the law would apply depending on how the US Supreme Court’s decision is written. Planned Parenthood believes South Dakota is a state where abortion would immediately become illegal.

Currently, South Dakota has a 72-hour waiting period for anyone seeking an abortion. Additionally, for a minor, parental notificaiton is required. Patients must also receive counseling that includes information to discourage the abortion.

Noem has vowed to call a special session to implement a ban if necessary.

Wisconsin

Wisconsin is also a trigger law state, and has a criminal statute that would prohibit nearly all abortions in the state if Roe were overturned.

 

Nikoel Hytrek
5/4/22

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