A pendulum of reactions: Ames community reflects on the overturning of Roe V. Wade

Mackenzie Bodell

June 24, 2022 — the day when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that created the constitutional right to abortion. 

After weeks of debate, the court’s controversial decision will give states the power to create specific abortion laws for their state. States will be free to limit or even outlaw abortions.

Since then, the ruling represented the pendulum of reactions: those ready to celebrate while others prepare to protest. 

“I was happy,” Iowa State alumnus Andrew Moffatt said. “It allows the states to decide what their policy is going to be on it instead of forcing it on all the states. I think that’s giving power back to the people, and that’s a good thing.” 

On July 2, the Ames community marched for reproductive freedom. Protesting community members marched down Main Street, ending at City Hall, chanting various messages, all related to pro-choice opinions. 

Iowa State alumna Jenna McCarthy attended this event with the intention of looking at the bigger picture. 

“Ultimately Ames doesn’t decide what the court does, but we can help be part of that larger picture and I guess, one cry in the larger voice,” she said.

Roughly 100 people chanted “Forced birth is murder,” and “My body, my choice, you will not take away my voice” as they arrived at City Hall. 

Local political figures joined members of the Ames community at this event. 

Iowa Rep. Beth Wessel-Kroeschell from Story County was present at this protest. Wessel-Kroeschell has been in the legislature for 18 years and is currently running for her 10th term.

“My initial reaction is that we need to fight this,” Wessel-Kroeschell said. “We need to fight it state by state right now.”

She also expressed excitement about the number of young people in the community that came out to march. 

“Hardly ever do I see this many people who don’t have gray hair at these kinds of events,” Wessel-Kroeschell said. 

​​A CIRCLE (Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning & Engagement) survey from June 2020 shows an increase in younger age groups attending marches or demonstrations. 

Roughly 27 percent of the age group 18 to 24 in 2020 said they had attended a march or demonstration. This increased from when CIRCLE surveyed the same age group before the 2016 and 2018 elections, 5 percent and 16 percent, respectively. 

While there are community members who expressed anger and frustration over the ruling, there are others who feel the opposite following the announcement. 

Iowa State Daily also received a pro-life letter submission from Iowa State student James Lydon before his interview with the Daily. Lydon is a fifth-year senior working towards a master’s in business and engineering. This letter is an opinion piece; anyone is welcome to send opinion letters to the Daily. 

In his letter, Lydon wrote about his thoughts on the Supreme Court overturning Roe V. Wade. 

“June 24, 2022, will forever be etched in the American story as the day we took one giant leap in the fight against despair,” Lydon wrote in the letter. 

In a separate interview, Lydon spoke about his opinions about the Roe v. Wade draft decision that was leaked in early May. He said that when the decision was leaked, in the back of his mind, he was afraid it was not real. 

“I realized it was real, it hit me, and I couldn’t stop smiling,” Lydon said. 

This initial draft, written by Justice Samuel Alito, was obtained and published by the news site Politico. 

“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” Alito wrote in the draft opinion. “Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have inflamed debate and deepened division.”

The Supreme Court marshal was called to investigate the leak. This is an ongoing investigation. 

Politico did not identify its source when publishing the leaked draft. The initial article sourced “a person familiar with the court’s deliberations.”

Supreme Court officials are seeking to take steps to require law clerks to provide cell phone records and sign affidavits, according to CNN. An affidavit is a written statement confirmed by oath or affirmation for use as evidence in court. 

As of early June, officials have not identified the individual responsible for the leak. 

Another Iowa State student, a sophomore in mechanical engineering, Hank Esker, is another community member who feels that overturning Roe V. Wade was a step in the right direction. 

“From my perspective, we made a step in the right direction, and we were able to reverse something that was a wrong conclusion,” Esker said. 

Since the overruling of Roe. v. Wade, Gov. Kim Reynolds asked the Iowa Supreme Court to revisit its decision in an abortion case involving a 24-hour waiting period. On July 5, the Iowa Supreme Court denied this request. 

Reynolds also requested the district court to reinstate Iowa’s “fetal heartbeat” law. Reynolds signed this law in 2018, but it never took effect, and in 2019 it was ruled unconstitutional. 

Ames is home to multiple pro-choice organizations such as ACCESS and Planned Parenthood. 

ACCESS is a pro-choice nonprofit that offers services for survivors of abuse and those in a housing crisis. With the news that Roe v. Wade was overturned, the organization wants to publicly reinstate that it is always in support of a survivor’s choice. 

“Any choice that a survivor makes, whether it to keep a pregnancy, to terminate a pregnancy, those are all choices that are their own, and we support all of those choices,” ACCESS sexual assault advocate Jada Alexander said. 

Alexander also spoke to the Daily at a protest in Des Moines in May. 

“Overturning Roe v. Wade is not gonna stop my advocacy,” Alexander said. 

Planned Parenthood has an office in Ames and is one of the locations that provide abortion services to patients. While abortion is still legal in Iowa, Planned Parenthood has been working on plans in case that changes. 

“We’ve been planning for months different scenarios of access across our region, and one scenario that we are planning for is for abortion to be outlawed in Iowa,” Sheena Dooley said. 

Dooley is with Planned Parenthood in the north-central states, including Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota. 

Part of that planning process includes adding patient navigator roles to staff. These patient navigators connect with patients who require abortion care within the five affiliated states. They connect patients to financial resources and with the closest and best fit location for a safe and legal abortion. 

“I think at this point, we’re just doubling down in our commitment to fight for Iowans’ right to make personal health care decisions and have that reproductive freedom,” Dooley said.