Iowa lawmakers approve bill requiring waiting period before abortion

By Anne Marie Cox
Special to The Witness
DES MOINES — Iowa lawmakers approved a bill that will require a 24-hour waiting period before a woman can have an abortion.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has 30 days to sign the legislation, which passed in the Iowa House of Representatives June 13 and in the Senate June 14.
Pro-life leaders had been advocating for the Protect Life Amendment, which would have reversed a 2018 Iowa Supreme Court ruling that said the state’s constitution protects the right to abortion. The amendment would have taken the constitution back to when it was neutral on abortion.
The amendment had been a top priority of pro-life leaders. The 24-hour wait period proposal arose when it appeared there weren’t enough votes to pass the amendment, said Tom Chapman, executive director of the Iowa Catholic Conference.
“We’re disappointed the amendment didn’t pass this year but a 24-hour wait period is good public policy,” he said. “Most states have a waiting period. It gives people a little more time to consider an important decision like that.”
Iowans for LIFE Executive Director Maggie DeWitte was disappointed the amendment did not pass. The amendment needed to pass two legislative sessions and be approved by a vote of the people in order to be enacted.
“We were disappointed that did not go through,” she said. “We’re hopeful that the 24-hour bill will save lives and do what the legislators feel that it could do.”
Cox is the Director of Communication for the Diocese of Des Moines.