Iowa’s statewide elected officials react to abortion ban

Iowa’s statewide elected officials react to abortion ban

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird, Iowa House Speaker Pat Grassley, Iowa House Minority Leader Jennifer Konfrst, Iowa Senate Minority Leader Pam Jochum, and Iowa Sen. Sarah Trone Garriott.

By Grace Katzer

June 28, 2024

Iowa Republicans celebrated while Iowa Democrats lamented after the Iowa Supreme Court allowed the state’s six-week abortion ban to take effect on Friday.

Depending on their party affiliation and belief in bodily autonomy, Iowa elected officials had varying reactions to the Iowa Supreme Court’s decision to dissolve the 2023 injunction that blocked a near-total abortion ban in the state. The 4-3 decision took immediate effect Friday and bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy—before most know they’re pregnant in the first place. 

To learn more about the breaking news, staff writer Nikoel Hytrek has got you covered. Want to know how your elected officials are reacting? Continue reading to see how Republicans and Democrats are feeling after the morning ruling. 

Republicans quick to celebrate

Gov. Kim Reynolds applauded the court’s ruling that will make the near-total abortion ban she has championed take effect. Reynolds viewed the ruling as a long time coming since she signed a similar bill in 2018.

“As the heartbeat bill finally becomes law, we are deeply committed to supporting women in planning for motherhood, and promoting fatherhood and its importance in parenting,” Reynolds stated. “We will continue to develop policies that encourage strong families, which includes promoting adoption and protecting in vitro fertilization (IVF).”

Reynolds’s point to protect IVF comes after growing concern amongst Republican governors that IVF — a fertility treatment that puts sperm and egg together in a dish — are babies that should be protected. 

Iowa Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver (R-Grimes) called the ruling a step in the right direction, commending the Supreme Court for the “clarity” they provided on the issue. 

“I am optimistic the common-sense law passed again last year to protect life at the sound of a heartbeat with exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother will be found constitutional,” he stated. 

Iowa House Speaker Pat Grassley called the ruling a victory. 

“For too long, the courts have stood in the way of Iowans having their voices heard on this matter,” he stated. “ We are a pro-life and pro-family state.

Grassley falsely stated that “out-of-touch, far-left” political groups fight for abortion “up until the day of birth” and promised he would fight for common sense policies to protect life. 

 Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird touted herself as a defender of Iowa’s heartbeat law to protect the unborn. 

“While today’s decision is a landmark victory, we know there is work left to be done,” she stated. “We will keep working to support Iowa families, parents, and the unborn as the fight for life continues.”

Democrats fear for women’s safety, outcomes of the ruling

Iowa House Democratic Leader Jennifer Konfrst of Windsor Heights called the ruling devastating. 

“Iowa Republicans have just gone too far,” Konfrost said in a statement. “They are out of touch with the majority of Iowans who want reproductive freedom. Politicians and judges have no place interfering in someone else’s decisions about when to start a family.”

Konfrst called on Iowans to hold their elected officials accountable to protect women across the state.

“Everyone deserves the right to make their own healthcare decisions, especially when it comes to reproductive care and abortion,” she said. “Iowa Democrats will put people over politics and keep fighting every single day to save our reproductive freedom in Iowa.”

Iowa Sen. Sarah Trone-Garriott (D-West Des Moines) called Iowa Republicans obsessive in a statement that called the Hawkeye State a “reproductive healthcare desert” that will endanger lives. 

“Reynolds and other extreme, anti-choice Republicans passed this abortion ban in an unprecedented special session after a nearly identical version was struck down by these very courts,” she recalled. “Today’s decision to uphold this ban puts lives in danger, plain and simple. This decision will only make things worse,” Trone-Garriott said. 

Iowans do not support these policies, she said, promising to continue the fight to restore reproductive freedom for generations to come. 

In her own statement, Iowa Senate Democratic Leader Pam Jochum of Dubuque said June 28 will be remembered as a tragic day in history, one initiated by an “activist court” and extremists. 

“This ruling is also a warning for Iowa’s future,” Jochum said, urging Iowans to vote blue in November. “If extreme Republicans and activist judges are willing to reject clear public sentiment to undermine longstanding rights, then no other freedoms are secure either. What rights will they come for next?”

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