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Lawsuit Filed Against IA Leaders Over Halt to Abortions During Crisis

Iowa is among several states where a debate over whether abortions should still be allowed during the pandemic has surfaced. (Adobe Stock)
Iowa is among several states where a debate over whether abortions should still be allowed during the pandemic has surfaced. (Adobe Stock)
March 31, 2020

DES MOINES, Iowa -- A lawsuit has been filed against Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds over the suspension of abortion procedures during the pandemic. Pro-choice groups say the decision will force women to carry pregnancies when they might not want to.

The Republican governor said the move will conserve key medical equipment during the state's response to the new coronavirus, while preventing its spread. But ACLU spokesperson Veronica Fowler said the personal protective gear in high demand right now isn't used much in these procedures.

She called the move a political distraction during a crisis.

"Anybody who has been considering an abortion, or is scheduled for an abortion, is going to be concerned about this," Fowler said. "When you're pregnant, days matter. And any delays are just unforgivable."

Reynolds is an abortion opponent but has said her decision was not based on her personal beliefs. A statement issued Monday said she suspended all elective surgeries and procedures to preserve Iowa's health care resources.

But Fowler said forcing women to carry pregnancies will actually require more resources as there will be necessary doctor's check-ups during the pregnancy, in addition to the medical support needed during labor and delivery. The lawsuit seeks an injunction against Reynolds' order.

Domestic-violence groups have said the pandemic will lead to an increase in instances of abuse and sexual assault. Fowler said that will result in unwanted pregnancies.

"A lot of people are in relationships where they are going to get pregnant and they don't want to be pregnant," she said.

She said the order takes away a woman's right to end an unwanted pregnancy, whether it was forced upon them or not. Similar lawsuits have been filed in several other states that have made similar moves during the crisis. On Monday, a federal judge in Texas struck down that state's temporary ban.

Mike Moen, Public News Service - IA