SIOUX CITY, Iowa — In a historic release from the United States Supreme Court, the 1972 ruling legalizing abortion in the U.S. has been officially overturned, leaving the right for a person to receive an abortion up to individual states.
This ruling will have a different impact across all 50 states. 13 have already banned the practice, thanks to laws written so that they would take effect immediately upon Roe's overturning.
South Dakota is one of the 13 states with one of those "trigger laws" so abortion is now illegal in the Rushmore State. South Dakota's law not only bans abortions but also makes it a felony for medical professionals who provide abortions which is punishable by up to two years in prison. Now there is an exception to South Dakota's law from 2005 which allows abortions if there is a quote, "appropriate and reasonable medical judgment" to save the life of the mother, such as an ectopic pregnancy.
Now South Dakota's Republican Governor, Kristi Noem, launched a new website to help pregnant women and individuals find information and resources on topics such as adoption, financial assistance and new parent tips.
In Iowa, abortions are still legal until the 20th week of pregnancy, except to save the life of the parent or prevent a substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.
But, another state law passed in 2020 requires a 24-hour waiting period before an abortion procedure can be done. With this Supreme Court ruling, the GOP-controlled legislature in Iowa can call a special session to pass stronger abortion restrictions in the state.
In Nebraska, there is not currently a trigger law on the books meaning the current law in the state allows abortions until the 20th week of pregnancy.
Republican Governor Pete Ricketts has said he does plan to call a special session for the unicameral legislature to pass stronger laws on abortion now that Roe is overturned, but no date for that session has yet been set.
JD Scholten, a Democrat running for Iowa House this fall predicts this won't be the end for anti-Roe legal cases.
"I think what we're going to see is in the state legislation some more extreme laws," he told Siouxland News, "I mean we are talking about making contraceptives illegal. And that's just a dangerous path to go down, And enforcing pregnancies when we don't have the adequate care around there."
Scholten says the decision flies in the face of not only decades of legal precedence but the opinion of a solid majority of voters, even in Iowa.
"But what we saw was 60% of voters in NW Iowa consider themselves pro-life, but also 60% of NW Iowa thinks abortion should be legal in some capacity," he said. "I think that something, when we talk about where we need to go from here a lot of it, is protecting mothers, protecting women, protecting a lot of the vulnerable people and that's what I'm hoping to protect."
Scholten currently has no Republican opponent for the House District 1 election in November.
DIOCESE OF SIOUX CITY
One of the strongest opponents of Roe v. Wade over the past five decades has been churches with the Catholic Church strongly opposing abortion.
The Diocese of Sioux City and its Bishop R. Walker Nickless released a statement celebrating the decision by the Supreme Court to reverse Roe, but, like South Dakota Governor Noem, expressing a desire to care for women through and after birth.
Regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization today and a recent decision by the Iowa Supreme Court, I am pleased to see the direction of our state and federal judges moving toward protecting innocent life.
As you may know, due to this U.S. Supreme Court ruling and the subsequent opinions released, all states, including Iowa, will determine their own abortion policy.
On June 17, the Iowa Supreme Court reversed its 2018 decision that recognized a fundamental right to abortion as part of the Iowa Constitution. Also, the court sent back to a lower court the 24-hour waiting period before a woman can have an abortion.
Although the recent actions of the federal and state supreme courts are good news to all who believe in the sanctity of life, there is much more work to be done. I ask all Catholics and all people of faith to continue to pray for an end to abortion in our state and our nation.
Deliberately taking the life of an innocent person, as is always done in abortion, is gravely contrary to both the natural law and the divine law. A just civil law must protect the sanctity of human life.
Let us pray for our nation and continue to respect the right to life.
For the latest local and national news regarding Roe. V. Wade, visit this section of our website.
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