In Iowa

After Roe, abortion is illegal after the unborn child is considered viable. Hear from The FAMiLY LEADER about what’s at stake, and how you can be part of the fight for life. Then, keep reading to find out more about your state’s post-Roe abortion laws

After Roe, states have an even greater responsibility to protect life. Partner with your state’s family policy council to ensure that your state is pro-life, from conception all the way to natural death!


After Roe, does my state ban nearly all abortions or allow nearly all abortions?

In 2018, Iowa passed a law to protect unborn babies who have a heartbeat, in. S.F. 359, 87th Gen. Assem. (Iowa. 2018) (codified as Iowa Code Ann. § 146C.2). The law was blocked from taking effect by an Iowa district court, citing a previous ruling from the Iowa Supreme Court that declared a supposed right to an abortion in the Iowa constitution. Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, Inc. v. Reynolds, No. EQCE83074, 2019 WL 312072, at *2 (Iowa Dist. Jan. 22, 2019). The Iowa Supreme Court recently overturned Planned Parenthood v. Reynolds, (Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, Inc. v. Reynolds ex rel. State, 975 N.W.2d 710 (Iowa 2022)), but Iowans will still need either a state constitutional amendment or another definitive court opinion for their heartbeat law to take effect now that Roe is overturned. Iowa will still protect against some abortions through its other restrictions–read about them below.


What is my state’s next step in the fight for life, now that Roe is overturned?

Though the Iowa Supreme Court recently declared there is no right to an abortion in the state Constitution, the Protect Life Amendment is still needed to restore to Iowans the ability to protect unborn life. The amendment needs to pass the Iowa Legislature for the second time in 2023 or 2024 and then be ratified by popular vote.


Below, we’ve summarized what abortion laws are in your state after Roe.

Abortion Limits, Exceptions and Enforcement

Limitations on abortions

If my state won’t ban all abortions, what are the limits to abortion?

Iowa protects unborn babies after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Iowa Code § 146B.2.

Iowa bans partial-birth abortions. Iowa Code Ann. § 707.8A.

Iowa also has a post-viability restriction: no abortion may be performed after the end of the second trimester. Iowa Code Ann. § 707.7.

Exceptions to any limitations

Are there any exceptions to those limitations placed on abortion?

Exception to the 20-week protection: if there is a “medical emergency” as defined the statute. Iowa Code § 146B.2.

Exception to partial-birth ban: If the abortion is necessary to preserve the life of a woman endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury. Iowa Code Ann. § 707.8A.

Exception to post-viability restriction: If the abortion is necessary to preserve the mother’s life or health and every reasonable medical effort not inconsistent with preserving the life of the pregnant person is made to preserve the life of a viable fetus. Iowa Code Ann. § 707.7.

Penalties for performing an illegal abortion

What are the penalties to abortion providers for committing an illegal abortion (one of the forms of abortion that my state has limited under the law)?

A violation of the 20-week protection may result in money damages awarded to the mother in a civil proceeding, as well as injunctive relief against the offending physician. Violators may also face licensing discipline. Iowa Code § 146B.3.

A violation of partial-birth abortion ban is a class “C” felony. Iowa Code Ann. § 707.8A.

A violator of the post-viability restriction is guilty of feticide, which is also a class “C” felony. Iowa Code Ann. § 707.7.


When abortion laws are violated, who can file a lawsuit to enforce their rights and the law?

A mother, or her parents if she has not reached 18 years of age, may sue a doctor for actual damages if the doctor violates the 20-week protection. Iowa Code § 146B.3.

The partial-birth ban gives the mother, the father, or–if the mother is less than eighteen years of age or unmarried at the time of the partial-birth abortion–a maternal grandparent of the baby (one of the mother’s parents) the ability to bring an action to recover statutory and compensatory damages. Iowa Code Ann. § 707.8A.

Special standards of care

Does my state impose a special medical standard of care on abortion providers?

Yes: The physician must make every reasonable medical effort, not inconsistent with preserving the woman’s life, to preserve the life of a viable fetus. Iowa Code Ann. § 707.7.

Protecting Fundamental Rights


Does my state give parents the right to consent for their child to get an abortion?

Yes. Notice to one parent is required; however, this state has a method where a minor can obtain permission from the courts to receive an abortion without parental notice or consent. This requirement may be waived if 1) the mother declares she is a victim of sexual abuse, or 2) the physician certifies in writing that it is a medical emergency. Iowa Code Ann. § 135L.3.

Medical professionals

Does my state have conscience protections for medical professionals who do not want to participate in abortions?

Yes: Individuals who object on the basis of religious beliefs or moral convictions may refuse to participate in abortions that do not constitute emergency medical treatment of a serious physical condition necessary to preserve the woman’s life. Iowa Code Ann. § 146.1.

Hospitals not controlled, maintained, and supported by a public authority may refuse to perform an abortion not necessary to preserve the woman’s life. The refusal of a non-public hospital to permit abortion may not be a basis for civil liability or other recriminatory action. Iowa Code Ann. § 146.2.

Babies Born Alive

Are there legal protections for babies born alive following a botched abortion in my state?


Safety & Health of Women

Physician-only requirement

Does an abortion have to be provided by a licensed physician in my state?

Yes: Only physicians licensed to practice medicine and surgery in Iowa or a licensed osteopathic physician and surgeon may conduct abortions. Iowa Code Ann. § 146.2.

Informed consent

Does my state’s law require that a woman give informed consent and/or receive counseling prior to allowing an abortion to be performed?

Yes. A mother may not have an abortion, except in a medical emergency, until the physician conducting the abortion obtains written certification that the woman: (1) has undergone an ultrasound and was given the opportunity to view the ultrasound, hear a description of the ultrasound, or hear the heartbeat; (2) has been informed that her options relative to pregnancy include continuing the pregnancy and retaining parental rights, continuing the pregnancy and placing the child for adoption, or ending the pregnancy; (3) has been told the medical risks associated with abortion. Iowa Code § 146A.1 (2017).

Waiting period

Does my state place any waiting requirement on abortion so that a mother has more time to decide?

Yes: Iowa has a 24-hour waiting period requirement. Iowa Code § 146A.1.

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