Health

Planned Parenthood won’t change waiting period requirement

The Iowa attorney general’s office says a state Supreme Court decision that requires a 24-hour waiting period before an abortion won’t take effect until next month, but the state’s main abortion provider says it will immediately require the waiting period

DES MOINES, Iowa — The Iowa attorney general’s office said Wednesday that a state Supreme Court decision that requires a 24-hour waiting period before an abortion won’t take effect until next month, but the organization that provides most abortion in the state says it will immediately implement the waiting period.

A spokesman for the Iowa attorney general’s office said last week’s ruling would not take effect until the case has been returned to the lower court judge for further action, likely around July 8. Typically, Supreme Court opinions go into effect 21 days after they are released.

After the ruling, Planned Parenthood North Central States officials had said the organization would immediately implement the waiting period as recommended by its legal council, the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa.

Emily Bisek, the organization’s vice president for communications, said despite the attorney general’s belief that the waiting period wasn’t required yet, it would stick by its waiting period decision.

“The last thing we want is for patients to be inconvenienced,” Bisek said in a statement. “Without clear guidelines on when the forced 24-hour waiting period would begin, we had to implement the law in order to confidently keep providing abortion care in Iowa. Rolling back the new process now would further burden patients and create more challenges and confusion for care, not to mention more re-scheduling.”

The waiting period was included in a Friday state Supreme Court ruling in which the court reversed its 2018 decision that guaranteed the right to abortion. The court concluded it had wrongly decided abortion is among the fundamental privacy rights guaranteed by the Iowa Constitution and federal law.

In its decision, the court also overturned a lower court’s ruling that a state law passed in 2020 that required a 24-hour waiting period before a woman can get an abortion was unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court’s decision on the waiting period means Planned Parenthood’s challenge of the law will be considered under a different legal standard that could make it easier for the governor and the legislature to overcome the constitutional legal challenge and enact the law.

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