The FAMiLY Leader is taking the battle to protect life to both the Iowa and U.S. Supreme Court.
In the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization abortion case expected to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court beginning Dec. 1, The FAMiLY Leader is presenting the Court with the argument that 1973’s pro-abortion ruling, Roe v. Wade, should be overturned.
The FAMiLY Leader, or TFL, contends both Roe and Iowa’s 2018 Planned Parenthood v. Reynolds rulings represent not only an abhorrent disregard for the value of human life, but also an unconstitutional, judicial overreach of rightful, legislative powers.
“Seizing the rare opportunity that Dobbs affords to challenge Roe, TFL is standing in gap for you,” says TFL Vice President and Chief Legal Counsel Chuck Hurley. “Through ‘friend of the court’ filings in both the Dobbs and Reynolds cases, we’re making the argument for life and for rule of law, rather than rule of activist judges. Our team is spending thousands of dollars and hundreds of legal hours to make the best case possible for why both the Roe and Reynolds decisions should be reversed.”
Since Roe was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973, the floodgates have opened to over 62 million abortions in the United States alone. And since Planned Parenthood v. Reynolds was decided by the Iowa Supreme Court in 2018, inventing a so-called “fundamental right” to abortion, Iowa’s abortion rate has risen significantly as well. What’s more, the Reynolds ruling establishes a precedent that future courts could use to expand abortions – even late-term abortions up to the day of a baby’s birth – and compel we taxpayers to pay for them.
But now, through strategic alliances and legal filings, TFL is working to see both Roe and Reynolds overturned, freeing state legislators to enact laws defending life in the womb.
“Our aim is to see mothers and babies protected from the horror of abortion,” says Hurley. “But as long as these unconstitutional, disastrous rulings stand, our courts and our culture keep expanding the bloodshed.
“Both PP v. Reynolds and Roe need to go,” he says.
TFL takes on Roe
TFL is involved in a pair of legal briefs filed in the Dobbs case challenging Roe.
The first is an amicus, or “friend of the court,” brief, signed by TFL and over 20 similar state family policy organizations. The brief argues Roe violated the common law right to life protected by the Ninth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, as well as the right of states to protect that life, as guaranteed by the Tenth Amendment.
“The text of the Ninth Amendment has unique significance in that it lays out a rule of constitutional construction necessary to properly interpret and apply other portions of constitutional text,” the brief states. “Vital to civil liberty is the Ninth Amendment’s assurance that the people retain all their common law rights … including the right to life.”
Yet since Roe v. Wade, the brief argues, “The Court has denied to state legislatures and courts the authority to protect the fundamental, absolute right to life that at common law belonged to all persons.”
The second barrel in TFL’s legal approach is an amicus brief filed in the Dobbs case by state legislators, arguing that the U.S. Supreme Court overstepped its power in Roe and that the regulation of abortion should be returned to the states.
“TFL was heavily involved in contacting dozens of Iowa legislators, urging them to sign the state legislator brief,” Hurley attests. “The relationships we have forged over the years were vital in encouraging action in a short timeline. Yet because of those relationships and many of our lawmakers’ passion for defending life, 37 Iowa legislators have signed on.”
TFL fights for life in Iowa
In 2018, the Iowa State Supreme Court overruled Iowa’s required 72-hour waiting period before having an abortion, citing a “fundamental right” to abortion that had never before been found in the Iowa Constitution.
The language of the 2018 Planned Parenthood v. Reynolds decision was far more radical than even Roe v. Wade, as it established a precedent seemingly designed to overrule almost any and every abortion restriction on the books.
Just this summer, in fact, a district court judge blocked Iowa’s new, 24-hour waiting period as well, citing the 2018 Reynolds precedent.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, however, has appealed the district ruling to the Iowa Supreme Court. Many believe the composition of the Court, which has undergone significant turnover since 2018, may allow reconsideration of the 2018 Reynolds ruling.
To that end, TFL is working with the attorneys of Alliance Defending Freedom, or ADF, to draft an amicus brief on behalf of dozens of Iowa legislators, arguing that in 2018, activist judges once again acted outside their constitutional bounds and overstepped the rightful authority of the Legislature.
“I called ADF, and they were happy to join us in the filing,” Hurley explained. “They recognize that even if – and especially if – Roe is overturned, state supreme court decisions are going to become more and more important. Activist judges should not be allowed to do on a state-by-state basis what the activist judges of Roe did at the federal level.”