Des Moines, IA — June 14, 2020 — Early this morning, Iowa lawmakers passed so called “waiting period” legislation that requires people seeking an abortion to visit a clinic 24 hours in advance of their procedure. The measure creates an additional barrier to people who are seeking this constitutionally protected medical procedure by making them complete an additional and unnecessary clinic visit in advance of getting an abortion.
Statement from Erin Davison-Rippey, Iowa Executive Director for Planned Parenthood North Central States, on 24-hour waiting period legislation:
Iowa Republicans did not have the votes this session to change our state constitution and take away the right to abortion. So instead, in the dead of night and without any public input, these leaders spent the final hours of the 2020 legislative session pushing through a 24-hour waiting period for Iowans who are getting an abortion. They took this action even though legislators received thousands of phone calls and emails this session from constituents in support of sexual and reproductive freedom.
Tonight we saw that even in the midst of a pandemic and continued momentum for Black Lives Matter, the Republican majority in the House and Senate remained determined to make it more difficult for Iowans to receive sexual and reproductive health care. We at Planned Parenthood see firsthand the burden on our patients when politicians create arbitrary barriers to safe, legal abortion, like this new waiting period. This law is really about shaming Iowans and making it harder to access abortion.
We know that when we act, we can get our representatives to focus on Iowans’ priorities—just like we saw in the House a few nights ago with the police reform bill. But no matter how loudly Iowans speak up to protect their sexual and reproductive rights, the current legislative leadership is determined to put their own ideological beliefs ahead of their constituents’ health. It is unconscionable, and these relentless attacks on sexual and reproductive health care are hurting our communities.
Our representatives must focus on Iowans’ real priorities, like we saw in the House a few nights ago with the police reform bill. Yet tonight, legislators prioritized their personal ideologies at the expense of our sexual and reproductive health freedom. Iowans need leaders who truly represent us and our values.
Planned Parenthood North Central States and its subsidiary organizations provide, promote, and protect reproductive and sexual health through high-quality care, education and advocacy. A member of America’s most trusted reproductive health care provider, our affiliate is proud to support and operate 29 health centers across our five-state region (Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota). Each year, we provide health care to nearly 100,000 people and health education to more than 99,000 people in our region.