Aug 10, 2022 - Politics

Abortion investigations would be prohibited under Des Moines proposal

Illustration of a silhouette of a pregnant person with prison bars shown in their shape

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Des Moines police would not be able to investigate complaints about health care providers that facilitate access to abortion under a resolution shared with Axios that was drafted by city councilperson Josh Mandelbaum.

  • It would also direct city staffers to draft an ordinance to prohibit discrimination in housing or employment against someone who has had an abortion or accesses reproductive health services similar to those that protect sexual orientation and gender identity.

Why it matters: Abortion remains legal in Iowa during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy but that could change in the coming months either through evolving court or legislative initiatives.

  • Mandelbaum’s resolution lays the groundwork to resist enforcement should stricter abortion regulations or bans be enacted.

Big picture: Multiple cities in other states have passed ordinances to protect access to abortion following June's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that overturned Roe v. Wade.

  • Meanwhile, some states are acting quickly to further restrict abortions. For example, on Friday, Indiana lawmakers passed a near-total abortion ban.

Of note: Mandelbaum doesn't yet have the support of Mayor Frank Cownie or enough council members to add the resolution to an upcoming regular city council agenda.

Yes, but: He can call for a vote that would add the idea to an upcoming council workshop for discussion.

  • He told Axios he'll try to workshop his idea in coming months if he's unable to get a vote on the resolution.

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