Gov. Kim Reynolds signs 24 hour abortion waiting period amid lawsuit

Kim Reynolds celebrates being the first elected female governor on Nov. 6, 2018. Mike Naig, Republican candidate for Iowa Secretary of Agriculture and Kim Reynolds, Republican candidate for Iowa governor hosted an “Iowa GOP Victory Party” on Nov. 6 at the Hilton in downtown Des Moines.

Katherine Kealey

This article has been updated June 30 at 6:01 p.m. to include that the law has been temporarily blocked.

Amid a lawsuit with Planned Parenthood, Gov. Kim Reynolds signed into law Monday afternoon that Iowa women must wait 24 hours before receiving an abortion. An Iowa judge has temporarily blocked the law until the lawsuit is resolved.

The law states that a woman must wait 24 hours after the initial appointment before having an abortion. 

During the initial appointment, the woman must be provided the option to see an ultrasound of the fetus as well as information about alternative options to abortions, like adoption.

Last week, Planned Parenthood sued Reynolds, the Iowa Board of Medicine and the State of Iowa, but Reynolds applauded Iowa lawmakers for the law.

“I am proud to stand up for the sanctity of every human life,” Reynolds said in a statement. “Life is precious, life is sacred, and we can never stop fighting for it. I applaud the Iowa lawmakers who had the courage to stand strong and take action to protect the unborn child.” 

Ryan Hurley, the President of Iowa State College Republican and a sophomore in pre-business, said he agrees with Reynolds.

“College Republicans is glad to hear Gov. Reynolds signed this pro-life legislation,” Hurley said. “Abortion hurts women and families, and that 24 hours can and will save lives.” 

The law was signed on the same day that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Louisiana abortion law that required doctors to have admitting privileges from local hospitals to perform abortions. 

“On the same day that the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a Louisiana law that required abortion providers to have hospital admitting privileges, Governor Reynolds signed the mandatory 24-hour waiting period into law,” Karen Kedrowski, director of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center said. “This is less restrictive than the 72 hour waiting period that was overturned recently. Iowa is part of a national effort to force court challenges to abortion restrictions in the hopes that the U.S. Supreme Court will overturn Roe vs. Wade. Abortion opponents believe that they have a five-vote majority on the Court, which includes Chief Justice Roberts. However, today’s Supreme Court decision implies that Roberts respects precedent and is not the reliable anti-abortion vote that many hoped he would be.” 

The 24-hour waiting period law had been proposed less than five hours before it was voted on by the full house. This meant, it did not go through the legislative process and did not allow the public to comment. 

Rep. Beth Wessel-Kroeschell, D-Ames said there were five other abortion bills that did go through the scrutiny of the legislative process and they were unsuccessful. She said the law is also unclear regarding women that are having a non emergency miscarriages. 

“The most important part was it was not thoroughly vetted by the legislature and the bills that were died before they got to the house floor, and that we just need to trust Iowa women to make the right choices for their families and themselves,” Wessel-Kroeschell said.

Sehba Faheem, president of the Iowa State College Democrats and senior in biological systems engineering, said she has concerns about the process the law went through prior to it passing. 

“This 24 waiting period was snuck through the governor’s office and into law without giving Iowans time to even process the addition,” Faheem said. “The waiting period adds another obstacle onto an already heartbreakingly difficult decision and process. There are only six clinics in Iowa in which a woman can have a medically induced abortion. This is a state that is mostly rural; that drive makes the visit to a clinic a full day affair. And now, a woman must do so twice. Instead of adding obstacles, I wish the governor would expand the pregnancy prevention methods available to women. During her terms, access to contraceptives have only decreased in Iowa. No woman wants to endure an abortion; it is taxing both physically and psychologically, but necessary in certain cases. To truly lower the rates of abortion, we must be empowering women with contraceptives, sexual violence support, and sexual education. This 24 hour waiting period, however, is an attempt to reduce a woman’s power to control her own body feigning as “protection for an unborn child.”