Iowa Abortion Ban’s Exceptions for Rape, Incest Have Tight Time Limits – Rolling Stone

iowa new abortion laws


At six weeks gestation, many people don’t know they are pregnant — their period is only two weeks late — but, as of last Friday, that is the point at which most women in Iowa are barred from obtaining an abortion. Lest they be accused of being unreasonable, Iowa Republicans are quick to point out that their new ban includes exceptions — like for instances of rape. Under the law signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds, individuals who have been raped will have six weeks and four days to report the incident if they want to obtain an abortion. 

Rape is considered the most underreported crime across all categories. According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), only 310 of every 1,000 rapes are reported to the police. It’s not hard to understand why survivors are often reluctant to come forward: reporting does little to ensure the perpetrator of a crime will be held responsible. Of 310 rapes that are reported, only 50 will lead to an arrest; barely half of those, 28, will result in a felony conviction. 

Iowans who choose not to report their rape, or fail to report it within that very specific window of time, will be out of luck: Either forced to seek care out of state, or carry the pregnancy to term. 

But those who do report their rape within 45 days — either to police or to “a public or private health agency,” per the new law — will only be legally entitled to an abortion. That doesn’t mean they will actually be able to get one. Investigations have repeatedly shown that, in practice, “exceptions” are rarely granted because abortion providers leave states where bans are in effect and because the doctors who remain in those states are often unwilling to risk legal exposure.

Expecting survivors to come forward within 45 days is unreasonable, says Alison Drieth of the Midwest Access Coalition. “The level of proof [demanded], and the scrutiny you have to face — it’s just insurmountable. That you could even tell your story after 45 days of trauma?” Dreith notes that some survivors don’t talk about their experience for years or decades — if at all. 

Reynolds, who signed the bill into law at the Family Leadership Summit on the same stage where GOP hopefuls Ron DeSantis, Mike Pence, and Nikki Haley later took questions from Tucker Carlson, said she had “never been prouder” to sign a bill into law. “Today, the most glaring injustice of all is about to be put right,” she said.

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A few weeks earlier, the Iowa Supreme Court deadlocked over a lawsuit challenging the state’s previous six-week ban. When the decision came down, Reynolds called a special session of the Iowa state legislature for the “sole purpose” of passing a new law that would prevent women from obtaining abortions.  

Before Reynolds signed the new ban into law, abortion was legal in Iowa up to 20 weeks. The state was one of only a handful in the region where abortion was still available. Iowa’s new ban, going into effect shortly after North Carolina’s, and ahead of a court decision that could severely restrict access in Florida, will place a huge burden on both providers and women seeking care. “It’s going to put a huge strain on the abortion safety net,” Drieth says. “We’re potentially looking at another round of catastrophic wait times and other roadblocks for patient care because of this Iowa ban.”



Source link: https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/iowa-abortion-ban-rape-incest-reporting-requirement-1234789558/

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