DES MOINES, Iowa (LifeSiteNews) — The largest Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Iowa’s capital city closed its doors to the joy of pro-lifers who have long worked and prayed that the death mill end its baby-killing industry.
In a statement to LifeSiteNews after the pro-life victory, Maggie DeWitte, executive director of Pulse Life Advocates (PLA), founded in 1972 and now one of the longest standing pro-life organizations in Iowa, celebrated the closure and called for renewed efforts to end all abortions in the state. DeWitte said:
We are overjoyed at the closing of the Planned Parenthood clinic on the southside of Des Moines. Pulse Life Advocates, Iowa’s longest-standing, statewide, pro-life organization, has organized hundreds of prayer vigils at this clinic over the years since its founding in 1972. We know the power of prayer and so many Iowans have lifted up thousands of prayers for the closure of this clinic. Women will no longer be harmed and babies will no longer be killed at this location and we are thanking and praising God for this victory!
But while we celebrate this win, we look to the other abortion mills operating in Iowa and will turn our efforts toward getting those closed as well. And we will continue to pray, educate, and take action until we no longer have abortion in our state and in our country.
PLA told LifeNews that “the closing represents a culmination of years of prayers by faithful pro-lifers at this very location.”
“If you were one of the faithful who joined us, you know how the North wind that swept down upon us was particularly cruel, seemingly taunting us as we prayed. And the hot summer months presented a different form of discomfort. But it was all worth it! God listened and answered our prayers with this closing,” PLA said.
While rejoicing at the closure of Des Moines’s largest abortion mill, DeWitte also lamented the rise in the use of the mail-in abortion pill, which now accounts for the majority of abortions nationwide.
DeWitte told LifeSite that the background to current state of affairs regarding Iowa’s abortion laws and allowances are the fights the legislature and governor have fought in the courts against Planned Parenthood over the State’s now twice passed Heartbeat law. She wrote:
The 20-week abortion ban was passed in Iowa in 2017 and had a 72-hour waiting period component to the law. While the 20-week abortion ban sailed into law with no hold-up, the 72-hour ruling was immediately contested by Planned Parenthood and the ACLU. They filed a lawsuit and sought an injunction so that the 72-hour waiting period would not go into effect until the court process had gone through the necessary actions.
We then move(d) forward to the next legislative session in which we pass(ed) the first in the nation Heartbeat law. The Governor signed this historic bill into law that May. Shortly thereafter, the court finally made their ruling on the 72-hour waiting period. As suspected, the court ruled the law unconstitutional and that it was an undue burden for women. But they went a step further in creating law. They determined that we had a fundamental right to abortion in our Iowa Constitution. They legislated from the bench and created law.
In this ruling, the Iowa Supreme Court effectively took the role of creating law out of the hands of our duly elected legislators and took it upon themselves to determine the law of the land in the great state of Iowa. Unelected judges created law with one stroke of the pen.
Because of this ruling, the heartbeat law never went into effect. Polk County District Judge Hubbert ruled on the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade that because of the 72-hour ruling, the Heartbeat bill was ruled unconstitutional.
In June 2022, just days before the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the Dobbs decision reversing Roe v. Wade, the Iowa Supreme Court reversed its own course and struck down its previous ruling that abortion was a “fundamental right” protected by the state constitution. The reversal came upon the request of the pro-life legislature, which also passed a law requiring a 24-hour waiting period before obtaining an abortion.
The Dobbs decision also prompted Gov. Kim Reynolds to renew efforts to lift the injunction against the Heartbeat law, which failed at the Iowa Supreme Court in June 2023.
Last summer, a new Heartbeat bill was passed by the Iowa legislature in a special session called by Reynolds. Planned Parenthood, not unexpectedly, filed a lawsuit challenging the law, and oral arguments are set to be heard in March, with a ruling to be issued this June.
In 2023, Reynolds vowed to not rest until every child in the Hawkeye State was protected “The overturning of Roe v. Wade last year was just the beginning,” she said. “And since then, we’ve seen some in our movement concede ground to abortion extremists. Not in Iowa and not on my watch.”
“I will always be front and center in this fight. I will not rest until Iowa’s courts allow the will of the people to finally take effect, until every unborn child has the chance to experience the greatest gift that our Lord endowed upon us: life.”