Reactions roll, roll from across the political spectrum on the court toppling Roe | State
Statements from a range of Iowa organizations and leaders, from liberal to conservative, establishment to progressive, are bombarding the media in the wake of the US Supreme Court’s decision, released this morning, quashing Roe v. Wade, the historic legislation protecting the right to abortion for half a century.
“I am pleased to see the direction of our state and federal judges moving toward the protection of innocent life,” Bishop R. Walker Nickless of the Diocese of Sioux City said in a statement. “As you may be aware, due to this U.S. Supreme Court decision and subsequent notices issued, all states, including Iowa, will determine their own abortion policy.”
Carroll’s Congressman, Republican Randy Feenstra of Hull, who had a proven track record in anti-abortion efforts in the Iowa Legislature before moving to Congress, applauded the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the 15-week abortion ban in the state of Mississippi and, therefore, to overturn Roe v. Wade.
“Today is a momentous day for the pro-life movement and pro-life Americans across our country,” Feenstra said in a statement. “Since being elected to Congress, I have sought the annulment of Roe v. Wade, and after nearly 50 years, I am delighted that the sanctity of life has triumphed. By reversing Roe, we can truly live up to our highest moral values and enable states like Iowa – where we proudly defend innocent life – to codify laws that reflect our deepest beliefs. As a Christian and a father of four, I will always protect the unborn and vote for every child to be guaranteed one of our most fundamental constitutional rights; the right to life”.
United States Attorney General Merrick Garland quickly called on Congress to pass a law protecting the right to abortion,
“The Department of Justice strongly disagrees with the court’s decision,” Garland said in a statement. “This decision is a devastating blow to reproductive freedom in the United States. It will have an immediate and irreversible impact on the lives of people across the country. And it will be vastly disproportionate in its effects – with the greatest burdens felt by people of color and those with limited financial means.
Meanwhile, Republicans are seeking to ban abortion at the state level across the country. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds is at the forefront of this effort.
“The Supreme Court’s greatest moments have come when it allows America to more perfectly embody the enduring truth upon which it was founded: that all human beings, without exception, are created equal,” said Reynolds in a statement. “By this measure, today’s historic decision is clearly such a moment. But the fight for life is not over. As governor, I will not rest until every unborn Iowan is protected and respected.
Julie Gammack, former editor of the Des Moines Register and longtime advocate for women’s rights in Iowa, was fierce in her popular “Potluck” column on Substack this morning.
“They lied. They cheated. They won,” Gammack wrote. “During confirmation hearings, two Trump-appointed Supreme Court members said Roe was ‘established law. They lied.”
At the federal level, elected officials in Iowa broke with partisan lines.
“I am proudly and adamantly pro-life,” U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Red Oak, said in a statement. “This decision reflects science, will save lives, and rightfully return political power to the American people and their elected officials.”
The lone Democrat on the Iowa federal delegation, Congresswoman Cindy Axne, called the court’s decision “tragic.”
“The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is unconscionable, cruel, and disempowers tens of millions of American women to make their own medical decisions,” Axne said in a statement. “I have seen firsthand the progress women have made towards equal pay and equal rights in recent years. Thanks to the Roe decision, women like me were able to go to college, build careers, and plan their lives and families as they pleased. This will disproportionately affect the poor, minority communities and anyone who cannot travel to another state or country to receive lifesaving medical care. This decision sets our country back decades and threatens every American’s right to privacy.
Matt Sinovic, the leader of the liberal organization Progress Iowa, said anti-abortion lawmakers would now seek to ban abortions without exception.
“No matter your income or where you live, everyone should be able to get the health care they need, including abortion,” Sinovic said in a statement. “A majority of Americans and a majority of Iowans support access to safe and legal abortions. Today’s court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade not only deprives pregnant women of their basic rights, but endangers them and their lives. The impacts of this decision will hit hardest people who already face discriminatory barriers to health care – especially people of color, people with disabilities, people in rural areas, young people, undocumented people and those who are struggling to make ends meet.
The conservative Iowa householder, largely built to lead an anti-abortion campaign, views the decision as a victory that has been decades in the making.
“This is a momentous day for America,” Bob Vander Plaats, president and CEO of The Family Leader, said in a statement. “Roe v. Wade was misjudged, and his horrific precedent granting permission to treat unborn children as less than human resulted in the deaths of over 62 million Americans and counting. But finally, today’s decision of the United States Supreme Court in Dobbs v. Jackson will enable states to protect women and children from abortion.
Bishop R. Walker Nickless