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60 legislators urge Iowa Supremes to overturn 'right' to abortion

Sixty Iowa legislators have signed on to an amicus, or “friend of the court,” brief, calling on the Iowa Supreme Court to reverse its shocking 2018 Planned Parenthood v. Reynolds ruling, which declared abortion to be a “fundamental right” under the Iowa Constitution.

“[Planned Parenthood v. Reynolds] is demonstrably wrong, so this Court has a duty to overrule it,” the brief argues. “Nothing in Iowa’s Constitution’s text, structure, history, or tradition suggests abortion is a fundamental right.”

The brief’s signatories notably include the Iowa Senate President Jake Chapman and House Majority Leader Matt Windschitl, as well as Senate President Pro Tempore Brad Zaun and House Speaker Pro Tempore John Wills.

Attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom and The FAMiLY Leader were instrumental in preparing and filing the brief.

“Our aim is to see mothers and babies protected from the horror of abortion,” says The FAMiLY Leader Vice President and Chief Legal Counsel Chuck Hurley. “But as long as this unconstitutional, disastrous Planned Parenthood ruling stands, our courts will continue to strike down every reasonable effort to regulate abortion in our state.

Planned Parenthood v. Reynolds needs to go,” Hurley continues, “and we are grateful for the leadership and the courage of these legislators to take a stand in signing onto the amicus brief. They are not only standing up for the rights of unborn children, but also for the rule of law.”

The Iowa state senators who signed the brief include:

  • Senate President Jake Chapman

  • President Pro Tempore Brad Zaun

  • Majority Whip Amy Sinclair

  • Sen. Jim Carlin

  • Sen. Mark Costello

  • Sen. Adrian Dickey

  • Sen. Dawn Driscoll

  • Senator Jeff Edler

  • Sen. Julian Garrett

  • Sen. Jesse Green

  • Sen. Dennis Guth

  • Sen. Craig Johnson

  • Sen. Tim Kraayenbrink

  • Sen. Mark Lofgren

  • Sen. Zach Nunn

  • Sen. Jeff Reichman

  • Sen. Ken Rozenboom

  • Sen. Jason Schultz

  • Sen. Annette Sweeney

  • Sen. Jeff Taylor

  • Sen. Zach Whiting

  • Sen. Craig Williams

The Iowa state representatives who signed the brief include:

  • Majority Leader Matt Windschitl

  • Speaker Pro Tempore John Wills

  • Rep. Eddie Andrews

  • Rep. Rob Bacon

  • Rep. Terry Baxter

  • Rep. Brian Best

  • Rep. Brooke Boden

  • Rep. Steve Bradley

  • Rep. Dennis Bush

  • Rep. Mark Cisneros

  • Rep. Cecil Dolecheck

  • Rep. Dean Fisher

  • Rep. Joel Fry

  • Rep. Tom Gerhold

  • Rep. Martin Graber

  • Rep. Stan Gustafson

  • Rep. Steven Holt

  • Rep. Chad Ingels

  • Rep. Jon Jacobsen

  • Rep. Tom Jeneary

  • Rep. Bobby Kaufmann

  • Rep. David Kerr

  • Rep. Shannon Latham

  • Rep. Charlie McClintock

  • Rep. Joe Mitchell

  • Rep. Norlin Mommsen

  • Rep. Carter Nordman

  • Rep. Anne Osmundson

  • Rep. Sandy Salmon

  • Rep. Mike Sexton

  • Rep. Jeff Shipley

  • Rep. Ray Sorensen

  • Rep. Henry Stone

  • Rep. Phil Thompson

  • Rep. Jon Thorup

  • Rep. Cherielynn Westrich

  • Rep. Skyler Wheeler

  • Rep. Gary Worthan

No, abortion is not a “fundamental right”

The “fundamental right” language of the 2018 Planned Parenthood v. Reynolds decision, which is significantly more radical than even Roe v. Wade, established a precedent seemingly designed to overrule almost any and every abortion restriction on the books.

In fact, the Reynolds ruling has already blocked a pair of waiting-period laws in court, and pro-life advocates warn it won’t stop there. Future courts could cite the precedent to expand abortions even further – even late-term abortions up to the day of a baby’s birth – and to compel Iowa taxpayers to pay for them.

The amicus brief argues the “fundamental right” language in the 2018 decision, however, was fundamentally flawed.

Citing cases as recently as 2005 and 2010, the legislators’ brief quotes the Iowa Supreme Court itself, when it declared that only “rights and liberties which are deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition” can qualify as “fundamental rights.”

Yet the amicus brief points out that no such “deep roots” exist for declaring abortion a “right”: “Six months after Iowa’s Constitution became effective, the general assembly adopted a law making abort¬ion a crime under all circumstances, unless … necessary to preserve the life of [the] woman,” and abortion “remained a crime in Iowa until the [1973] Roe decision.”

“[Planned Parenthood v. Reynolds] relies on mistaken reasoning and an indefensible interpretation of Iowa’s Constitution. It has led to undesirable results by forbidding the legislature from enacting common-sense abortion regulations, and it likely has contributed to a sharp increase in abortions,” the legislators conclude. “[The Iowa Supreme Court] must overturn [this] clearly erroneous precedent.”


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