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Iowa Supreme Court: Abortion Not Protected By State Structure

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Supreme Court on Friday cleared the way in which for lawmakers to severely limit and even ban abortion within the state, reversing a call by the court just 4 years ago that guaranteed the precise to the procedure under the Iowa Structure.

The court, now composed almost entirely of Republican appointees, concluded that a less conservative court wrongly decided that abortion is amongst the basic privacy rights guaranteed by the Iowa Structure and federal law.

Friday’s ruling comes amid expectations that the U.S. Supreme Court will overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide. Then Iowa lawmakers could ban abortion within the state without completing the lengthy strategy of amending the state structure.

The Iowa decision stemmed from a lawsuit filed by abortion providers who challenged a 2020 law that required a 24-hour waiting period before a lady could get an abortion. A judge who struck down the law cited the state high court’s 2018 ruling. The judge also concluded the law violated rules prohibiting passage of bills with multiple subject.

The state Supreme Court returned the waiting period case to district court.

In its 2018 ruling, decided by a 5-2 vote, the court said that “autonomy and dominion over one’s body go to the very heart of what it means to be free.”

The reversal of a call after just 4 years reflects a dramatic change within the court’s makeup. Gov. Kim Reynolds has named 4 justices since 2017, so six of the seven people on the court have been appointed by Republican governors.

Reynolds, an outspoken opponent of abortion rights, and Republicans within the Legislature have repeatedly said they hoped the court would overturn the 2018 ruling. With that in mind, Reynolds and GOP lawmakers gave the governor more control over the panel that chooses which lawyers and judges are nominated for court positions.

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