principal pre-Roe statute prohibited performance of
an abortion on a pregnant woman unless the procedure was “necessary
to save her life.” Pursuant
to Roe, this statute was declared unconstitutional by
a three-judge federal district court
in Doe v. Turner, and was
repealed in 1976. The
pre-Roe statute would not be revived by a decision overruling Roe
v. Wade. Abortions could be performed for any reason through
the second trimester, and for virtually any reason thereafter.
Iowa Code § 701.1 (1950).
1288 (S.D. Iowa 1973). Prior to the Supreme Court’s decision
in Roe v. Wade, the Iowa Supreme Court upheld the
statute, rejecting arguments that it was impermissibly
vague and denied equal protection of the law. See State
v. Abodeely, 179 N.W.2d 347 (Iowa 1970), appeal
dismissed, cert. denied, 402 U.S. 936 (1971).
Acts 549, 774, ch. 1245, § 526.
See Iowa Code Ann. § 707.7 (West 2003). Because
of its undefined health exception, Iowa’s statute would
not effectively prohibit abortions after the second trimester. In
interpreting the undefined health exception in the pre-Roe District
of Columbia abortion statute, the Supreme Court held that “the general usage and modern understanding of the word ‘health’ .
. . includes psychological as well as physical well-being.” United
States v. Vuitch, 402 U.S. 62, 72 (1971). See also
Doe v. Bolton, 410 U.S. 179, 192 (1973) (in determining
whether an abortion is medically necessary, “all factors– physical,
emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age–relevant
to the well-being of the patient” may be considered). There
would be few, if any, abortions that could not be justified
on psychological or emotional grounds.