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Does the Iowa Constitution Provide "Roe v. Wade-like Protections?"

Photo by John Pemble
Iowa Judicial Branch Building during the evening. 1/16/2015

This week, the Iowa Supreme Court decided that enforcement of a new Iowa law requiring a three-day waiting period for an abortion will remain on hold.

On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with law professor Todd Pettys, H. Blair & Joan V. White Chair in Civil Litigation at the University of Iowa, about what the court is considering.

He says that one of the issues before the Iowa Supreme Court is the question of whether the Iowa Constitution provides more protection for women than the U.S. Constitution.

“Under Roe v. Wade, the 72-hour waiting period would plainly be unconstitutional because under Roe v. Wade as it was originally decided, the state couldn’t put any obstacles or any burdens on the woman in the early months of a pregnancy. That changed in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, another famous federal Supreme Court ruling on abortion, and that’s where we got the undue burden standard,” says Pettys.

He says that knowing this leads to the question: “Does the Iowa Constitution give Roe v. Wade-like protections […] or does the Iowa Constitution provide something less?”

Also included in today's show:

IPR statehouse correspondent Joyce Russell talks about this week's recertification vote; Des Moines Register health reporter Tony Leys discusses the impact of the ACA stopgap measure withdrawal; Muscatine Journal reporter Sarah Ritter talks about her coverage of the district court ruling on the impeachment of Muscatine's mayor; University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics ophthalmologist Dr. Michael Abràmoff talks about speaking in Washington D.C. this week; and Sioux City Journal columnist Tim Gallagher discusses a scary, yet heartwarming story from the town of Spencer.

Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River