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24-hour abortion waiting period becomes official in Iowa

A procedendo, the document that officially finalizes the high court's decision and sends the case back to the lower courts, was filed 24 days after the ruling.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Last Friday, July 8, marked the first day the Iowa Supreme Court's reversal of 2018 precedent regarding abortion rights could have been finalized. The document, called a procedendo, finalizes the high court's decision and sends the case back to the lower courts.

A procedendo wasn't filed until this morning. The filing of the document officially kicks the state's 24-hour waiting period for abortions into place, and sends the case back to a Johnson County Districts Court.

Local 5 News reached out to Planned Parenthood Advocates of Iowa on Friday in anticipation of the procedendo being filed, and a spokesperson said the organization had already implemented the 24-hour waiting period. 

Legal experts say the process of the case working its way through a Johnson County Court will take time. 

"They have to assign a judge," said Sally Frank, an abortion law expert with Drake University. "The judge has to set up a briefing schedule. Courts move slowly, they can move quickly when there's an absolute emergency. But there's no emergency here and people need time to write briefs and to research it. And the courts want to make good decisions that are well researched. So, things take a while."

Frank believes whatever a Johnson County Judge decides, it will likely wind up before the state's Supreme Court for a final decision. 

"The district court will make a ruling," said Frank. "One side or the other side will clearly and obviously appeal. And eventually I expect the Iowa Supreme Court to agree to hear that the case."

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