On May 2, someone leaked the first draft of a United States Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade and returning “authority to the people and their elected representatives” to outlaw abortion and protect unborn children from conception.
Will this outlaw abortion?
If the leaked draft is identical to the final ruling, it will be up to elected officials rather than unelected judges to protect unborn life.
However, 13 states (Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Wyoming) have trigger laws that would protect unborn life beginning at conception. Other states will likely pass laws protecting unborn babies before the end of 2022.
Is this a final ruling?
No, this is only a draft. The Supreme Court has not officially issued a ruling. The draft that was leaked could change significantly and it is even possible one or more justices will change their mind and decide not to overrule Roe. While we can be optimistic that states will have the power to protect innocent life, continue praying!
When can we expect the final ruling?
Most Supreme Court opinions are released in June. With this unprecedented leak, the Court may release the opinion early, but we will not know for sure until it happens.
What does this mean for Iowa?
If the final ruling is like the leaked draft, this will be great news for children and mothers around the United States! Unfortunately, Iowa has its own version of Roe v Wade preventing our state from protecting unborn children, the 2018 case Planned Parenthood v Reynolds.
Iowa could become an abortion destination as neighboring states like Missouri and South Dakota outlaw abortion. In 2020, the number of women traveling from other states to Iowa for an abortion more than doubled!
The pro-life community in Iowa is working through elections, court arguments, and a proposed constitutional amendment to ensure that Iowa will be able to protect all unborn life.
What about the Protect Life Amendment?
In 2021, the Iowa legislature passed the Protect Life Amendment for the first time. This amendment would overrule the unelected judges who invented a right to abortion in the Iowa constitution and prohibited our state from protecting unborn children.
According to Iowa’s amendment process, the legislature now needs to pass the amendment a second time (in 2023 or 2024) and then the people of Iowa need to approve it in a popular vote in 2023 or 2024.
What about progressive claims the Supreme Court will overrule gay marriage or contraception rulings?
While we certainly believe Obergefell was wrongly decided, the draft opinion draws a distinction between Roe and Casey compared to other court cases: “None of the other decisions cited by Roe and Casey involved the critical moral question posed by abortion.”
Further, the draft repeatedly emphasizes, “Our decision concerns the constitutional right to abortion and no other right. … Nothing in this opinion should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion.”
What can I do now?
- Pray for the United States Supreme Court justices, the protection of life in America, and the Iowa Supreme Court justices who could issue a similar ruling for Iowa this June!
- Vote for Pro-Life legislators in the June 7 primaries! The two most important pro-life races are:
- Jones and Jackson counties, where pro-life Steve Bradley is facing Lee Hein, who voted against the Heartbeat Law and the Protect Life Amendment.
- Tama and Poweshiek counties, where pro-life Dean Fisher is facing Dave Maxwell, who voted against the late-term abortion ban, the Heartbeat Law, and the Protect Life Amendment.
- Encourage your representatives to vote for the Protect Life Amendment in the 2023 legislative session!