Iowa reproductive rights orgs vow to keep fighting after abortion ban

Iowa reproductive rights orgs vow to keep fighting after abortion ban

Protestors outside the Iowa Capitol on June 24 after an event that marked the two-year anniversary of Roe being overturned. Photo by Avery Staker/Starting Line

By Grace Katzer

June 28, 2024

Supporters of reproductive rights are disappointed that Iowa’s abortion ban will take effect, but they won’t stop fighting for bodily autonomy. 

Leah Vanden Bosch said Friday’s ruling by the Iowa Supreme Court was an “absolute devastation that violates human rights.” 

The Iowa Supreme Court dissolved a 2023 injunction that blocked a near-total abortion ban in the state. The decision not only blocked all abortions after six weeks in a narrow 4-3 ruling.

“Abortion is essential health care that needs to be accessible to all,” said Vanden Bosch, the development and outreach director for Iowa Abortion Access Fund (IAAF). “This ban will harm marginalized communities and puts the lives of all pregnant people at risk.”

Vanden Bosch asked people to stay engaged and support those who need abortion care, encouraging Iowans to take care of one another during difficult times. 

IAAF shared statistics in a statement highlighting health inequities for Iowa women:

Leaders with IAAF said they refuse to back down on their advocacy for reproductive justice. 

“We believe in a vision of Iowa where all people, women, marginalized people, poor people, LGBTQ+ people, will all be able to access the life-saving care they need without shame,” they said in a statement. “We now live in a state where pregnant people have fewer rights than a bag of trash.”

Ruth Richardson, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood North Central States, said her organization had planned for this moment and was not surprised by the court’s decision. 

“We want people to know that Planned Parenthood is here and committed to meeting the health care needs of as many patients as possible,” Richardson said. “Each patient is the expert on their own life, and we trust patients to make decisions about their health, families, and futures.”

Richardson said Planned Parenthood’s team will not give up in the fight for reproductive health, pointing out the 11,500 abortion services provided to Iowans since an eerily similar bill passed in 2018. 

“We won’t stop now,” she said. “We won’t stop until everyone has the freedom to access the sexual and reproductive health care they need.”

Francine Thompson, Executive Director of the Emma Goldman Clinic in Iowa City, assured her patients that the clinic will continue assisting patients navigate through chaos and confusion. 

“Today’s ruling dealt a devastating blow to reproductive freedom and health care in Iowa that will affect generations to come and not be easily undone,” Thompson said. “We remain committed to helping connect Iowans with the essential, life-saving health care they need and deserve.”

Rita Bettis Austen, ACLU of Iowa Legal Director, said she was heartbroken by the decision. She called it unjust and said people now have to deal with impossible obstacles because of a “poorly written law.”

“Some will be forced to remain pregnant against their will,” Bettis Austen said. “This is not what most Iowans want. We know most Iowans want to protect abortion rights and keep politicians out of their private medical decisions.”

Ahead of the November election, national Dems blame Trump for Iowa ban

Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison blamed Former President Donald Trump for the ruling. 

“Because of Donald Trump, women in Iowa will now suffer under an extreme abortion ban that MAGA extremists have been itching to enact ever since Trump’s hand-picked Supreme Court justices overturned Roe v. Wade two years ago this week,” Harrison said in a statement.

The decision comes just one morning after the first presidential debate of the election season, where Trump celebrated his overturn of Roe v. Wade and falsely claimed Democrats advocate for abortions after the baby is born. 

“This will further strain health providers in nearby Midwestern states, and further deepen a growing maternal mortality crisis currently seen in the region,” Harrison said. “If reelected to a second term as president, Trump will take his anti-choice, anti-freedom agenda nationwide and eliminate reproductive freedom as we know it–with or without the help of Congress.”

Vice President Kamala Harris, who has hosted reproductive rights town halls in Iowa, also issued a statement calling out Trump.

“Because of Donald Trump, another cruel abortion ban will soon take effect and rip away reproductive freedom from women in yet another state,” Harris said. “Now, 22 states have Trump abortion bans, and more than one in three women of reproductive age across the country have had their reproductive freedoms stolen because Trump orchestrated the overturning of Roe v. Wade.”

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