Iowa’s anti-abortion activists react to SCOTUS overturning Roe v. Wade

Iowa’s anti-abortion activists and groups react to SCOTUS’s decision to overturn Roe. v. Wade.


Gabby Drees

A baby stroller with anti-abortion signs rests outside the Emma Goldman Clinic on Thursday, May 5, 2022. Around 15 people attended the demonstration.

Emily Delgado, News Reporter

The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade sparked activists on both sides of the issue to demonstrate.

Lena Branch, a University of Iowa student, said she’s pleased that the Supreme Court decided abortion is not protected by the Constitution.

“It should be up to the states to make the decision,” Branch said.

Branch is a rising junior studying business marketing and said she was elated when she found out SCOTUS overturned Roe v. Wade.

“This is something that I have been advocating for and praying for a while now and I believe that life begins at conception,” Branch said.

Kristi Judkins, executive director of Iowa Right to Life, said the organization was pleased with the SCOTUS decision, but understands there is still work to do in the fight to protect the unborn.

“However, we know our work is not done. At this time, abortion is still legal in Iowa so we will continue to communicate our message about the intrinsic value of life,” Judkins said in an email to The Daily Iowan.

Iowa Right to Life is an organization that aims to protect unborn infants through lobbying and working with anti-abortion activists around Iowa.

Judkins said she wants to tell abortion-rights activists that Iowa Right to Life is not anti-choice, but rather, against taking the life of an innocent human.

“We believe in the science which establishes the baby has its own DNA from the point of fertilization and is a separate human being inside the mother’s womb,” Judkins said. “The development of the baby from the point of fertilization is grounded in research on both sides of the abortion debate.”

Princeton University says that human development begins at conception or when a zygote is formed

Branch said she believes people who are pro-choice, pro-abortion, or anyone who is seeking an abortion should make sure they understand what they are doing.

“If you support something like this, I think the biggest thing that I see is people don’t actually know what [abortion] is and what [abortion] does,” Branch said. “Once they really do learn and take that step to fully understand the process, they either have a deeper understanding and change their mind or they are just better equipped to defend their position.”

Ultimately, no matter what side of the abortion debates a person is on, Branch said she believes everyone should be informed on their stance.

“The pro-life movement — we need to be able to give those women the love that they deserve, and that they need at that time,” Branch said.

While Branch has not been to the Emma Goldman Clinic to protest, anti-abortion and abortion-rights activists are often seen outside the Emma Goldman Clinic either supporting patients or trying to change the patients’ minds.

“The pro-life movement is incredibly generous. And that is something that we need to do is make women feel loved in front of those abortion clinics as well,” Branch said.

Branch said she doesn’t believe the overturning of Roe v. Wade will set back the women’s rights movement.

“For 50 years now, in order [for women] to feel empowered in America, you have to have the ability to be able to kill your baby,” Branch said.

Branch said this is an injustice to women.

Judkins said she believes women are empowered when they know the risks of an abortion and the trauma that could come from it; and choose life-affirming options to either keep or give up their child for adoption.

Currently, in the state of Iowa, there is a law in place that limits abortion after 21 weeks. Gov. Kim Reynolds is seeking to restrict abortion by requesting the Iowa Courts to enforce the heartbeat law, which requires physicians to check for a fetal heartbeat prior to performing an abortion.

“In 2018 the Heartbeat Bill created significant momentum across the country for conservative states to initiate legislation to protect the unborn … I support the decision to put these laws back in front of the Court to protect life in Iowa,” said Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver in a statement released by Reynolds on June 28.


Edit July 16, 2022: originally this article referenced The American College of Pediatricians on when human life begins. It has come to our attention that the organization is not a credible or unbiased source.

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