IOWA — The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision today in June Medical Services LLC v. Russo struck down a medically unnecessary clinic shutdown law in Louisiana. The law threatened to decimate abortion access in Louisiana, where access is already extremely restricted.
Even at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Republicans in the Iowa Legislature remained laser-focused on attacking reproductive freedom. After failing to push through a constitutional amendment that would undo a 2018 Iowa Supreme Court decision upholding the right to abortion in the Iowa state constitution, anti-choice lawmakers used the final hours of this years’ legislative session to pass an extreme measure that will force women to undergo a medically unnecessary delay prior to receiving abortion care.
In response, NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue released the following statement:
“Today’s decision is a win for women in Louisiana who will continue to have access to the time-sensitive abortion care they need. It’s a win for truth and fact-based decision making, as even a Court tilted so far right couldn’t ignore the concrete arguments and data showing that public health is compromised by these burdensome restrictions on abortion. Finally, today’s decision shows that advocates can make a difference. Support for Roe v. Wade is at an all-time high in this country and so many made their voices heard through this process. The Court’s legitimacy in the eyes of the public will be threatened if they follow through on Trump’s promise to end legal abortion.
This win, however, doesn’t change the simple fact that reproductive freedom in the United States remains on the line thanks to anti-choice extremists who have shown time and again that they will stop at nothing to advance their dangerous ideological agenda and a Court still looking for ways to accommodate them.
Justice Kavanaugh’s vote in the Supreme Court decision today should send a shiver down everyone’s spine who believes in reproductive freedom, and we will never forget that Joni Ernst put him on the bench. Senator Ernst has proven time and again her willingness to jeopardize the health, safety and freedoms of Iowans in favor of moving her ideological agenda in lock step with President Trump. In order to safeguard and restore the fundamental rights of women, we have to change the Senate. That’s why NARAL Iowa members are fighting so hard to elect Theresa Greenfield, who agrees with the majority of Iowans that politicians have no place interfering in personal decisions about pregnancy, and can be trusted to stand strong against attacks on reproductive freedom.”
June Medical Services LLC v. Russo challenged a dangerous Louisiana law that would have gutted abortion access in the state by requiring doctors to have medically unnecessary admitting privileges at a local hospital.
The clinic shutdown law at issue in the case was identical to one blocked in another case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, decided by the Supreme Court in 2016 before Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch joined the Court. These restrictions are based on disinformation pushed by the anti-choice, anti-freedom movement that falsely claims restrictions like this help women, though there is no medical benefit to mandating admitting privileges and they do nothing to make women safer. In truth, the evidence overwhelmingly shows that abortion care is extremely safe and leading medical experts oppose restrictions like the one the Supreme Court considered in this case because they block “access to quality, evidence-based medicine.”
This case puts an intense spotlight on Senator Joni Ernst, who voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, tipping the balance of the Court to anti-choice control. Ernst has served as a rubber-stamp for Donald Trump’s extremist agenda by helping him to stack the federal judiciary with judges hostile to Roe v. Wade and determined to gut or overturn the constitutional right to abortion.
With Roe in the crosshairs, the stakes are high for women and families in Iowa. Iowa already has severe restrictions on reproductive freedom, which include bans on abortion throughout pregnancy and subjecting women to mandatory biased counseling. Currently, around 93% of Iowa counties have no clinics providing abortion care.
The anti-choice movement has spent decades working overtime to decimate access to abortion, state by state, law by law. This Louisiana law was just one part of a coordinated effort by the anti-choice radical right to gut Roe v. Wade and advance their agenda of power and control. Since 2011, anti-choice politicians have pushed nearly 450 laws restricting reproductive freedom through state legislatures.
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NARAL Pro-Choice America and its network of state affiliates and chapters are dedicated to protecting and expanding reproductive freedom for all. For more than 50 years, NARAL has worked to guarantee that every woman has the right to make personal decisions regarding the full range of reproductive choices, including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and choosing legal abortion. Since 1969, NARAL has made history, grown to over 2.5 million members, and met the moments that have defined this fight with action, power and freedom. In recognition of its work defending our constitutional right to choose, Fortune Magazine described NARAL as “one of the top 10 advocacy groups in America.