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Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said the U.S. Supreme Court has 'its best opportunity yet' to overturn landmark abortion rulings when the court hears arguments this week in a Mississippi case.
The court will hear oral arguments Dec. 1 in a case challenging a Mississippi law that would ban most abortions there after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The case has given abortion opponents new hope in their decades-long quest to ban the procedure. And abortion rights groups fear an adverse ruling could lead to bans and severe restrictions around the country.
Reynolds was one of a dozen Republican governors who signed onto an amicus, or friend of the court, brief earlier this year asking the court to overturn its previous abortion decisions, such as Roe v. Wade in 1973 and Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992. Those decisions established a constitutional right to abortion and the legal framework governing the procedure in the United States.
"For years, democratically elected representatives in our states have tried to defend innocent human life in the womb only to be prevented by these incoherent decisions," Reynolds said Monday in a prerecorded message to a gathering hosted by the Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion group. "By disregarding state sovereignty, Roe and Casey have killed millions of unborn children."
The Mississippi case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, is the court's "best opportunity yet to undo its fatal mistake," Reynolds said.
If the court overturns those rulings, states would have more leeway to regulate abortion themselves and pass stricter limits on the procedure.
Reynolds is a staunch abortion opponent and has signed several laws restricting abortion in Iowa. Some of those laws, in turn, have been struck down in court as unconstitutional.
State lawmakers are trying to change the Iowa Constitution to say it does not secure a right to abortion, which would make it easier to pass laws limiting or banning the procedure.
"Here in Iowa, I’m not alone among elected leaders who are eager to finally have this overdue democratic debate and protect life," Reynolds said Monday. "With Dobbs, the Supreme Court can strike a blow for democratic self-government, restore constitutional integrity and right a historic wrong."
Planned Parenthood's Iowa affiliate has sounded the alarm about the Mississippi case, calling the state's law "blatantly unconstitutional."
Sheena Dooley, Iowa communications manager for Planned Parenthood North Central States, said in a statement that "the decision about whether, when and how to become a parent is a deeply personal one that Iowans should be entrusted to make for themselves."
"A person’s health, not political interference should guide important medical decisions throughout a pregnancy," she said. "Gov. Reynolds is pushing a narrow ideology regarding abortion and polling repeatedly shows that a majority of Iowans don’t support restricting reproductive freedom."
A September Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll found a majority of Iowans, 57%, believe abortion should be legal in most or all cases, while 38% said it should be illegal in most or all cases and 5% were not sure.
Stephen Gruber-Miller covers the Iowa Statehouse and politics for the Register. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 515-284-8169. Follow him on Twitter at @sgrubermiller.
This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Iowa Gov. says MS abortion case is best chance to reverse Roe v. Wade