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Today marks the start of the 2022 Legislative Session and we are expecting a full lineup of attacks in both chambers. Alongside our partners, we are prepared to fight for health, safety, equity, and reproductive freedom in Iowa. We’re thankful Iowans like you are with us. 

As they have done for years, politicians in Iowa are expected to further advance a narrow ideology that does not reflect the will of Iowans by attacking sexual and reproductive health and equity. They may do this by introducing a few different bills, let's break it down. 

What We Won’t See

The constitutional amendment to strip Iowans of the right to safe, legal abortion will not require any action this year because legislators already passed the first hurdle. The next time we will see a vote on the amendment will be in 2023 or 2024. We will continue to build power before then, but for now, we can focus our energy on other threats to reproductive and sexual health care this session.

Abortion bans

Iowans’ access to abortion is under threat, and we are facing a reality in which safe and legal abortion could be outlawed in Iowa as soon as later this year. With the conservative majority of the U.S. Supreme Court expected to roll back the federal right to abortion established nearly 50 years ago in Roe v. Wade, the fight to protect reproductive rights, including abortion, will fall to the states. 

While the latest reports have stated politicians plan to wait for Court decisions, Iowa politicians who control state government have made it clear their intention is to ban abortion. There are a few ways they may attack our fundamental rights this session:

Thanks to your fierce advocacy, we were able to stop a 12-week abortion ban last session, but a similar bill could resurface this year. 

Legislators determined to ban abortion may also work to get ahead of this year’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization – the case that presents a direct threat to Roe v. Wade –  with a “trigger law.” Trigger laws are abortion bans that go into effect immediately after the federal protection to abortion is eliminated; 12 states already have these laws in place. 

We’re also facing a new threat. Last fall, Texas enacted S.B. 8, a law banning abortion after six weeks, before most people even know they are pregnant. S.B. 8 has not been stopped by the courts. Legislators determined to ban abortion across the country have been emboldened and are declaring they will copy the law in their own states.  

If any of these bills pass, real lives will be impacted. Abortion restrictions exasperate health inequities, causing the most harm to people of color, people with low incomes, and those living in rural areas. Many Iowans lack the means to obtain necessary reproductive health care. Traveling out of state isn’t an option. 

Funding Crisis Pregnancy Centers with tax-payer dollars

We are watching to see if bills proposing the use of taxpayer dollars to fund Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs) will return this session. These centers, also called pregnancy resource centers or fake women’s health clinics, are notorious for misleading pregnant people with false information about their options. CPCs use scare tactics, visuals, and unsolicited ultrasound exams to shame and intimidate patients seeking safe and legal abortion. 

Deceiving pregnant people in order to prevent them from accessing evidence-based medical care endangers their health. These centers do not provide medical care, are not subject to government oversight, and are often run by religious groups. 

Instead of funding fake health centers, we need to fund health programs that fully inform patients about their health options.  When people are fully informed, they can work with their health care providers to make the best decision for themselves about their reproductive health.

Forcing medical professionals to push medically inaccurate information

Politicians opposed to abortion may also introduce a bill intruding on the doctor-patient relationship. A common tactic is proposing laws requiring medical professionals share medically inaccurate information with their patients stating medication abortion can be “reversed.” Abortion “reversal” bills are dangerous mandates not supported by science or medicine. The claim that a medication abortion can be reversed it not credible and has, time and time again, been rejected by physicians and OB-GYNs across the country. Iowans deserve to make informed decisions about their health care.

Anti-LGBTQ+ bills, including bills targeting trans Iowans.

In the 2021 session, there were 15 different bills proposed that targeted the LGBTQ+ community in Iowa. Though these bills failed to pass, we expect anti-LGBTQ+ legislation to emerge in 2022. Several Iowa politicians have made clear their intentions to target this group of Iowans, especially transgender youth. Notably, we expect a bill banning trans youth from participating on the teams that match their gender identity.

Transgender kids, like other students, deserve the same chances to learn, thrive, and build a sense of belonging with their peers. They deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. We will be supporting our partners leading the charge on this front, including One Iowa. Be sure to connect with their organization to stay informed on issues facing LGBTQ+ Iowans.

Stay Involved

With all these potential attacks on the horizon, we need your support. Here’s how you can help protect the future of Iowa:

  1. Join us on Wednesday for our Legislative Session Kick Off. We’ll be going into depth into what we expect to see at legislative session and how we plan to fight back.
  2. Stay tuned into emails and social for action alerts.
  3. Share your story. Speaking out about your experience is essential in showing politicians that their policies affect real Iowans.

With engaged supporters like you, we are confident we can make our voice heard and defeat harmful bills. Planned Parenthood Advocates of Iowa will continue working to protect Iowans’ access to the sexual and reproductive health care they need—no matter what. We hope you’ll join us!

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