Jun 22, 2022 - Politics

Iowa Supreme Court abortion ruling leads to confusion on waiting period

Illustration of a caduceus and question mark.

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

Abortion advocates and state officials are at odds regarding the implementation of a 24-hour waiting period for abortions following an Iowa Supreme Court ruling on Friday.

  • The court ruled that abortion rights are not protected by the state constitution, but didn't specifically address the waiting period requirement that was a part of the appeal they were hearing.

Why it matters: As of Friday, Planned Parenthood was already requiring people seeking an abortion to wait 24 hours, despite the Iowa Attorney General’s Office saying it isn’t necessary yet, Iowa Capital Dispatch reports.

Flashback: The state's Legislature passed a bill in 2020 requiring a 24-hour waiting period for people seeking abortions.

  • But a lower court issued an injunction, blocking the waiting period from going into effect.
  • The state appealed the lower court's ruling which is what Friday's Supreme Court ruling was in response to.

Yes, but: The ACLU of Iowa and Planned Parenthood initially believed the court's ruling on Friday reversed the injunction and required Iowans seeking an abortion to wait 24 hours and book two appointments, Rita Bettis Austen, legal director for the ACLU of Iowa told the Dispatch.

  • However, the injunction will be in place until July 8, meaning until then, Iowans don't have to wait 24 hours, the Iowa Attorney General’s office told the Register.
  • As of Tuesday afternoon, Planned Parenthood was still requiring a 24-hour wait, the Register reports.

What's next: The 2020 law — which established the waiting period — is returning to the district court, where its legality will be determined.


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