Iowa Is the Latest Example of the Anti-Democratic Post-Roe Fallout

Iowa's Republican-led legislature passed a near-total abortion ban, ending access at six weeks.

Photo of a rally at the Supreme Court with the Iowa state flag photoshopped in front
Iowa's six-week abortion ban is autocracy in action—and it’s been directly inspired by the conservative justices on the Supreme Court. Cage Rivera/Rewire News Group illustration

This piece first appeared in our weekly newsletter, The Fallout. Sign up for it here.

The Supreme Court may be done doing business for the summer, but the anti-democratic fallout from the fall of Roe v. Wade continues.

Late Tuesday evening, Iowa’s Republican-controlled legislature passed a near-total abortion ban, ending access for Iowans at six weeks, before most even people know they’re pregnant. It was the result of a one-day special session called by Republican Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, whose only goal in passing the ban was to defy the will of the people and the ruling of the Iowa Supreme Court.

This is autocracy in action, folks—and it’s been directly inspired by the U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative wing.

If there’s any good news out of all this, it’s that Iowans are pissed about this latest power grab by conservatives in their state, and showed up in droves to oppose the measure. Given what we’ve seen of voter engagement since the overturn of Roe, this could be a problem for lawmakers later on. Additionally, advocates have already filed a challenge to the six-week ban in state court—the same state court that had previously ruled a nearly identical ban unconstitutional under the Iowa Constitution a month ago. There are plenty of reasons to believe the Iowa courts will also strike this latest legislative abomination.

No matter what happens in the Iowa courts, it won’t change the reality that dismantling abortion rights in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization has inspired a slow-rolling constitutional crisis. Conservative lawmakers understand that in many ways, the time is effectively now or never to pass whatever piece of nightmare legislation they can dream up—and they’re going for it. They know these bans defy the wishes and interests of their constituents. And they know these bans will cause immense amounts of pain and suffering.

They just don’t care.