What could happen in Iowa after Roe is overturned

Five U.S. Supreme Court justices will soon overturn the Roe v Wade and Casey decisions, according to a draft majority opinion obtained by Politico. Josh Gerstein and Alexander Ward published excerpts from the draft, which author Justice Samuel Alito circulated in February.

Assuming the court overrules Roe sometime in the next two months, abortion will become illegal immediately in more than a dozen states. Other Republican-controlled states, including Iowa, will likely pass total or near-total abortion bans soon after.

But any such law could not take effect here as long as a 2018 Iowa Supreme Court precedent stands. In that case, the majority held that the Iowa Constitution protects a fundamental right “to decide whether to continue or terminate a pregnancy,” and any limits on that right are subject to strict scrutiny.

That ruling could be overturned in two ways.

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Iowa's new garbage search law looks unconstitutional

Iowans have “no reasonable expectation of privacy in garbage placed outside of the person’s residence for waste collection in a publicly accessible area,” according to a bill Governor Kim Reynolds signed into law on April 21.

Lawmakers approved Senate File 2296 in response to a June 2021 Iowa Supreme Court ruling, which declared warrantless garbage searches unconstitutional.

Whether the new law can withstand scrutiny is unclear. Attorneys who opposed the bill have pointed out that the legislature and governor cannot override the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the state constitution. But it could be years before a challenge to the law reaches the high court.

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Iowa women deserve better representation

Doris J. Kelley is a former member of the Iowa House and former Iowa Board of Parole Chair, Vice-Chair and Executive Director.

As a state legislator from 2007 through 2010, I was honored to represent 30,000 Cedar Valley constituents. I represented Iowa’s 3 million citizens while in a leadership position with the Board of Parole from 2011 to 2014. To me, people always came before party.

It perplexed many of my fellow legislators when I supported my constituents’ values and went against the party line. Now, I’m perplexed by the actions of Iowa Republicans who are supposed to represent our wishes in Washington, D.C.

In 1972, then State Representative Chuck Grassley voted for Iowa to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). But as a U.S. senator, he’s not carried that banner forward.

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Understanding the proposed right to firearms amendment

Linda Schreiber is a member of the League of Women Voters of Johnson County.

The League of Women Voters of Johnson County will host a virtual program, “Understanding the Proposed ‘Right to Firearms’ Amendment,” on Thursday, April 21, at 7 p.m. This program, planned by the LWVJC Education Committee, will address the proposed amendment to the Iowa Constitution that will appear on the ballot in November. The language needs a simple majority of “yes” votes to be added to the constitution.

Temple Hiatt, a longtime gun violence prevention advocate and activist, will address the proposed amendment. She is a veteran of the Persian Gulf War and a member of the Iowa City community for over 40 years. Temple’s personal experience of gun suicide by a family member informs her understanding of the sensible steps that we can take to prevent gun violence.

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Four ways the Iowa Supreme Court may handle next big abortion case

The Iowa Supreme Court will soon revisit one of the most politically charged questions of our time.

Last week a Johnson County District Court permanently blocked the state from “implementing, effectuating or enforcing” a law requiring a 24-hour waiting period before all abortions. Judge Mitchell Turner ruled the law unconstitutional on two grounds. The state is appealing the ruling and argues that a 2018 Iowa Supreme Court precedent, which established a fundamental right to an abortion under the Iowa Constitution, was “wrongly decided.”

Republican lawmakers planned for this scenario when they approved the waiting period during the waning hours of the 2020 legislative session. They may get their wish, but a reversal of the 2018 decision is not guaranteed.

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