DES MOINES, IOWA—As Iowans have watched Texas implement the most extreme abortion ban in the country’s history, advocates and supporters are uniting to protect safe and legal abortion in Iowa, a fundamental right currently recognized by the state constitution.
Organizations representing LGBTQIA+, Black, Indigenous and Latinx communities joined reproductive health care providers, elected officials and abortion advocates from across Iowa to speak out against the grim new era facing Iowa. Attacks on reproductive health care and freedoms have been unprecedented in recent years, with the state currently facing a constitutional amendment that would strip Iowans of their state guaranteed right to safe and legal abortion. The reality is in several short years, abortion will be outlawed in Iowa, which is spurring Iowans to take action.
The event was co-sponsored by the ACLU of Iowa, Progress Iowa and the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence. It featured speakers from One Iowa, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Iowa, Iowa Abortion Access Fund, Great Plains Action Society, Iowa Coalition for Change, and the Emma Goldman Clinic. The groups plan to work together throughout the coming years to defeat the constitutional amendment and push legislation that protects and expands Iowans’ access to reproductive health care, while working to correct social injustices and other inequities facing Iowans.
The Texas abortion law effectively bans abortion before most people know they are pregnant. The U.S. Supreme Court allowed the law to take effect. It’s the same court that is slated to hear oral arguments starting December 1 in a Mississippi case that directly challenges Roe v. Wade. If the Court erodes or eliminates the protections of Roe, it will be left up to the states to decide the future of abortion access.
A newly released “National Red Alert” report underscores the grave risk to reproductive freedom within our region with at least 1.4 million people at risk of losing access to abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
Gabriela Fuentes, Senior Advocacy Strategist at Planned Parenthood Advocates of Iowa
“Anti-abortion politicians here in Iowa are laying the groundwork to ban safe and legal abortion, something that could very realistically happen in a few short years. It is imperative that we join hands with partner organizations and stand in solidarity in the fight against Iowa’s anti-abortion constitutional amendment, because it affects everyone, especially those in marginalized communities. It is the Black, Latinx, and indigenous people, along with LGBTQIA+ communities and low-income individuals who will face the greatest barriers to access safe, legal abortion care because of these draconian, harmful policies. This moment is urgently calling us to collective action and we stand ready to fight for the rights of all people.”
State Rep. Beth Wessel-Kroschell (D-Ames)
“We are fighting this battle from all directions from stacking the courts, to extremist legislation and now an attack on the Iowa Constitution. Our mothers and grandmothers fought so that we would have the right to make our own health care decisions and we will continue to tell the truth and secure full-spectrum reproductive health care for all Iowans.”
Sikowski Nobiss, Great Plain Action Society Executive Director
“As an Indigenous person, I take infiltration of Christianity into legislation very seriously, because it perpetuates ideologies that were used to support colonization and genocide.”
Max Mowitz, One Iowa Program Director
“Reproductive justice is, at its core, intersectional work. Reproductive justice emphasizes the right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, and oppressive systems like racism, transphobia, ableism, and sexism are all active combatants of personal bodily autonomy. These systems necessarily undercut and infringe on a person's ability to engage with their body freely, and as a result, intersectionality must be at the core of reproductive justice work.”
Luana Nelson-Brown, Executive Director of the Iowa Coalition for Collective Change
"The reproductive rights of African American women have long been seeing attacks. Much akin to the slave breeding laws of the 1800s, today's abortion bans are rooted in white supremacy, the dehumanization of Black women and the destruction of the Black family.”
Alli Wampler, Nurse at the Emma Goldman Clinic
“For many of us, abortion care is a passion and about empowering folks who can become pregnant to remain in control of their lives and their bodies and remain safe.”
Frieda Bequeaith, Iowa Abortion Access Fund
“Cost is a huge barrier to abortion access in Iowa. As we fight legal restrictions on abortion, we must ask: what does a six-week ban mean to someone who could not afford the procedure anyway? Abortion bans and restrictions are rooted in white supremacy, patriarchy, and colonization; abortions will always be a safe option for the wealthy. Keeping abortion safe and legal is just the first step. There is so much work to be done before it is accessible to all Iowans.”
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Iowa (PPAI) is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a mission of fostering and preserving a social and political climate favorable to reproductive health. To meet this mission, PPAI engages in lobbying, issues education, and supporter mobilization.