116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
DES MOINES — Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds does not expect any abortion-related legislation to be passed during the current legislative session, which is nearly at its end.
Reynolds told reporters Thursday that the plan instead is to wait for the U.S. Supreme Court’s official ruling on an abortion-related case, and then determine a path forward in Iowa.
Earlier this week, Politico reported that the conservative-majority U.S. Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that protects a woman’s right to an abortion.
But the Politico report was based on a draft ruling, and Chief Justice John Roberts said it does not necessarily indicate how the court will officially rule.
Some states have passed so-called trigger laws, which would enact abortion restrictions or bans if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.
Such legislation exists in Iowa, but House File 2289 did not receive any legislative action this session.
Speaking to reporters after appearing at an event at the Iowa Capitol on Thursday, Reynolds said she will wait for the final Supreme Court ruling before signing any legislation.
“I’m hoping the ruling that was released, I hope that that’s accurate. I don’t think that will come as any surprise,” Reynolds said. “We’ll wait until that’s final and then move forward.”
There is no hard deadline for the Iowa Legislature to finish its 2022 session, but state lawmakers are near the end. All that remains are the bills that set spending for the next state budget, and an impasse over legislation that would create taxpayer-funded scholarships for private school tuition assistance.
The Supreme Court’s ruling will arrive by the end of June, when the current session ends.
When asked if she would call a special session to return state lawmakers to Des Moines to pass abortion restrictions, Reynolds did not answer directly.
Reynolds noted the multiple abortion-related matters pending before the Iowa Supreme Court. The state court in February heard oral arguments on a 2020 bill that would require a one-day waiting period before a woman could have an abortion; and Iowa Republicans filed briefs asking the court to overturn its 2019 ruling that struck down a ban on abortions after a fetal heartbeat could be detected, in doing so declaring that having an abortion is a protected, fundamental right.
Also, Republican lawmakers have started the process of proposing an amendment to the Iowa Constitution that would declare the document does not guarantee the right to an abortion. That could be put to Iowa voters in 2024.
“Let’s get this (legislative session) wrapped up first,” Reynolds said. “We’re not where we need to be yet, so let’s take one thing at a time. We don’t know when the final (U.S. Supreme Court) ruling is going to come through. We’re working on a constitutional amendment. …
“There are a lot of things that are already in the works. Let’s see where some of those end up, and then we’ll do what we need to.”
Iowa Rep. Skyler Wheeler, a Republican from Orange City who introduced Iowa’s trigger bill, said Republicans stand ready to act if emboldened by the U.S. Supreme Court’s pending ruling.
“The Iowa Supreme Court is preventing the protection of unborn life in Iowa. We will address that with the Protect Life Amendment if they do not correct it themselves this summer,” Wheeler said.
A majority of Iowans — 57 percent — believe abortion should be legal, according to the most recent Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll to ask the question, this past September. That was an increase of 8 percentage points from the previous year.
Just 38 percent of Iowans said abortion should be illegal in most or all cases, according to the September poll results.
There were 4,058 abortions performed in Iowa in 2020, a 14 percent increase from the previous year, according to the most recent data from the Iowa Department of Public Health.
Comments: (515) 355-1300, firstname.lastname@example.org