We must not go back

Mary Weaver is a former public health nurse administrator and farm wife who lives near the small town of Rippey, approximately 30 miles west of Ames.

As the newly elected chair of the Women’s Caucus of the Iowa Democratic Party, I am incredibly concerned over recent decisions by the Iowa Supreme Court, which overturned a precedent protecting abortion rights, and the U.S. Supreme Court, which overturned Roe v. Wade.

Those of us who remember life prior to 1973 vowed to never go back to a time when women did not control our own health care choices. The Dobbs decision will cause rights to be lost that women age 60 and older worked to establish. We thought we had guaranteed bodily autonomy for our daughters and granddaughters as well as for ourselves. 

But now, five Supreme Court justices used partisan politics and their own personal religious beliefs to legislate from the bench of the highest court in the nation. This ruling goes against the will of the American people. National polling shows some 80 percent of Americans believe abortion should be legal in some or all cases, around 70 percent say decisions on abortion should be left to the woman and her physician, and about 70 percent did not want the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade

This politicized court put the lives of millions in danger when it removed the fundamental right for half of Americans to have control over their own bodies and their own health care decisions. Abortion is health care. Whether you know it or not, someone you love has had an abortion. Someone you know will need an abortion. The court that is supposed to protect our rights and freedoms has just taken them away.

Now in many states a 12-year-old child, impregnated through rape by her father, will be forced to carry her sibling to term and deliver the child. 

In some states, a physician may delay treating a patient with an ectopic pregnancy, afraid to be prosecuted for performing a life-saving measure. Doctors may now be reluctant to complete a D & C (Dilation and Curettage) of the uterus following a spontaneous miscarriage, as they may be cited as performing an abortion and be incarcerated. A Texas law enacted last year was already inhibiting care for miscarriages, before the Supreme Court overturned Roe.

Iowa currently allows safe and legal abortions up to 20 weeks of pregnancy. Since the decision regarding abortion has been returned to the state, we can expect this to be changed by the Iowa Legislature. Just last week, Governor Kim Reynolds asked Iowa courts to reconsider two previous cases, which would result in banning most abortions in Iowa. 

The upcoming election is critical for Iowans.

We must support candidates who want to expand our freedoms and give everyone rights to make their own health care choices. We must elect Democratic House and Senate candidates who will codify a woman’s right to determine her own future.

It is also critical to elect Democrats in November because if Republicans control of any branch of government, we can expect more rights we now enjoy to be removed. Access to birth control, marriage rights, and equality are all on the ballot. The logic of the Dobbs decision indicates that this politicized Supreme Court will not stop at Roe

Now is the time to speak to your relatives, friends, and neighbors. Now is the time to write letters to the editor. Now is the time to ask your elected representative their stance on abortion. If it does not meet your values, identify a candidate who does, and help them win in November. 

We must not go back.

This commentary was also endorsed by Sarah Elgatian, the Women's Caucus vice chair, and Elizabeth Wearin, provisional caucus representative to the Iowa Democratic Party's State Central Committee.

Mary Weaver plans to use her position as chair of the Iowa Democratic Party's Women's Caucus to aid Iowa women and those who carry similar values to speak out regarding issues such as gun safety, education, mental health, and bodily autonomy.

  • Very true Mary

    My Grandmother died of an abortion in 1924. Had abortion been legal and safe I might have known my Grandmother. The Dobbs decision will kill thousands of women.

    Very true statements Mary. Helen Dewey would be very proud of you.

Login or Join to comment and post.