Iowa legislature passes amendment to ensure informed consent before abortion


Iowa legislators have passed informed consent legislation that would require a 24-hour waiting period for women seeking abortion. It would also require abortionists to give a woman the opportunity to see an ultrasound of her baby before the abortion and to give her information about adoption, the risks of having an abortion, and other community resources that are available to her.

The amendment was passed Sunday morning, after legislators worked overnight. If signed into law by Governor Kim Reynolds, the legislation will be an amendment to the state’s existing abortion laws.

“Iowans want to see unborn lives protected and this bill is a big step in that direction,” Rep. Sandy Salmon told CBS2 Iowa. “Waiting periods help ensure that decisions are made not under duress and not under undue influences. It’s the hope that after taking time to consider it, a woman would choose life over death.”

READ: Though rejected in Slovakia, informed consent laws are needed everywhere

While pro-abortion Democrats quickly condemned the legislation, particularly the waiting periods, Rep. Shannon Lundgren, a pro-life Republican, disagreed. “Twenty-four hours is not an unreasonable amount of time to think about a decision that impacts more than just one life,” she said. Lundgren also pointed out that Iowa has waiting periods in place for other life events, such as marriage, divorce, and adoption.

Waiting periods have been known to save lives, and contrary to pro-abortion talking points, they do not significantly bar access to abortion. Most women are still able to obtain abortions within two weeks. Polls from Gallup and Rasmussen have also found that most Americans support informed consent laws, including waiting periods. A recent CBS poll likewise found that most Americans want greater restrictions on abortion.

Planned Parenthood has already vowed to fight the legislation, pointing to the fact that Iowa’s previous 72-hour waiting period was overturned. “Not only did [the Iowa Supreme Court] say the 72-hour wait period is unconstitutional, but it made clear that access to abortion is a fundamental right,” Iowa Planned Parenthood Executive Director Erin Dividson-Rippey told We Are Iowa. “[Abortion is] fundamentally covered in the Iowa constitution, just like free speech would be. That’s a very strong ruling, so we feel very fortunate that we do have that in place.”

Yet the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld similar laws—like Kentucky’s ultrasound requirement—and an appeals court allowed Florida’s 24-hour waiting period to stand as well.

Gov. Reynolds called for more pro-life legislation earlier this year, and is expected to sign the amendment into law.

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