Adventures in "pro-life"

Incredible story by Ruth Burgess Thompson, a highly engaged, pro-choice Democratic activist in Des Moines. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Because I have been job-hunting since August 2017, I noticed that Iowa Right to Life had been advertising for an executive director for about three months. I joked with a few of my friends about applying for the position, and in late April or early May, I did.

Because I’m extremely present on social media and my solid pro-choice stance is no mystery, I never dreamed I’d get an interview. But in late May, I received a voice mail asking to schedule one.

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Iowa abortion ban blocked for now; litigation may last years

Polk County District Court Judge Michael Huppert has granted a temporary injunction to prevent Iowa’s near-total ban on abortion from going into effect on July 1. Attorneys from the Thomas More Society, a conservative Chicago law firm representing the state pro bono, did not object to the injunction at today’s hearing, Stephen Gruber-Miller reported for the Des Moines Register.

Senate File 359 outlaws almost all abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, with very few exceptions. Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, and the Emma Goldman Clinic filed suit last month, citing three ways in which the law violates rights guaranteed under the Iowa Constitution.

Advocates for the law have expressed hope that the case could eventually prompt the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the 1973 Roe v Wade decision. Plaintiffs structured the case to keep the litigation in state court, because if the Iowa Supreme Court finds the state constitution protects a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy, there will be no path to appeal in federal courts. UPDATE: To clarify, some cases filed in state court can be appealed to federal courts. However, all claims in this lawsuit are grounded in alleged violations of the Iowa Constitution: specifically, due process rights, “inalienable rights of persons to liberty, safety, and happiness,” and equal protection. Plaintiffs are not claiming the abortion ban violates any rights guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution.

This law will never be enforced, because it is obviously unconstitutional. Some readers have asked whether the case might be resolved before the November election. That’s extraordinarily unlikely. A timeline of events in Iowa’s last legal battle over abortion rights suggests it could be years before the Iowa Supreme Court decides this case.

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Groups sue to block abortion ban; Iowa AG won't defend law (updated)

UPDATE: Have added the plaintiffs’ court filings at the end of this post.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, and the Iowa City-based Emma Goldman Clinic filed suit today to block the new state ban on almost all abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected. I enclose below the full statement from the groups and will post the court filing once that document becomes available. The Polk County District Court is certain to put a stay on Senate File 359 (which would have taken effect July 1) while litigation is pending.

Attorney General Tom Miller “has disqualified himself from representing the state” in this case, Solicitor General Jeffrey Thompson informed Iowa’s Executive Council today. Miller took that step after determining “he could not zealously assert the state’s position because of his core belief that the statute, if upheld, would undermine rights and protections for women.” The attorney general recommends that the Executive Council authorize the Thomas More Society to defend the law. That conservative group has offered its legal services at no cost to the state.

Miller’s decision is telling, because a few years ago, the Iowa Attorney General’s office defended the state administrative rule seeking to ban the use of telemedicine to provide medical abortions at Planned Parenthood clinics around the state. The Iowa Supreme Court unanimously found that policy created an “undue burden” for women seeking an abortion. You can read that decision in full here.

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Iowa legislative recap: Constitutional amendments

Iowa lawmakers went home for the year on May 5. In the coming weeks, Bleeding Heartland will catch up on some of the legislature’s significant work that attracted relatively attention.

Two proposed state constitutional amendments passed both chambers and could appear on the 2020 general election ballot, if the House and Senate approve them in the same form during either 2019 or 2020.

Three other constitutional amendments cleared one chamber in 2017–in one case unanimously–then stalled in the other chamber as lawmakers completed this two-year session. Those ideas may resurface next year. But since changes to the state constitution must be passed by two consecutively elected legislatures before landing on the general election ballot (the last step in the process), Iowa voters would not be able to ratify those proposals until November 2022 at the earliest.

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A spiritual case for a woman's right to have an abortion

A personal reflection by Jon Muller. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Those who read my posts have come to expect conclusions based on data, some level of quantification of a process, phenomenon, or proposal. There are plenty of data with respect to abortion that might inform our views, but this is simply my spiritual and moral view with respect to two claims.

1) Choosing to terminate a pregnancy is not a moral question.

2) The right of a woman to have an abortion should not be infringed.

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I was raised without bodily autonomy. The Iowa GOP is doing the same thing

Alexandra Rucinski is a patient advocate for Planned Parenthood and an activist for sex education and reproductive rights. Iowa’s near-total abortion ban inspired her to write this commentary. -promoted by desmoinesdem

I vividly remember the only sex-ed class I ever took in high school. A woman who worked for Planned Parenthood came to teach our class. I remember eyeing her with distrust as she talked about things absolutely forbidden to me. I didn’t listen because I felt like I wasn’t supposed to listen.

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