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Experts weigh in as Iowa awaits 24-hour waiting period ruling

For Iowans and doctors alike, recent and upcoming changes to the status of abortion in Iowa can be difficult to keep track of.

DES MOINES, Iowa — As Iowa awaits the implementation of the 24-hour waiting period for abortions, many are trying to decipher what these changes mean for people seeking reproductive health care.

For Iowans and experts alike, recent and upcoming changes to the status of abortion in Iowa can be difficult to keep track of.

Lina-Maria Murillo, an assistant professor of gender, women and sexuality studies at the University of Iowa, said that the imminent 24-hour waiting period for abortions will affect socioeconomic classes differently. 

"These kinds of laws exacerbate poverty in the state. And so that's what the 24-hour ban really does, right? It really is punishing poor folks for, you know, trying to have some sort of control over the reproductive lives," Murillo said. 

With that day-long waiting period in place, low income mothers who want an abortion may now have extra worries and extra costs associated with seeking the procedure. 

"(It affects) folks who may have precarious work conditions and they can't always take consecutive days off. Folks who might have childcare, other kinds of care concerns may not have the extra time. And so this becomes, really, a financial burden," she said. 

One doctor said she feels like her hands are tied. 

Local 5's Medical Expert Dr. Payal Kohli said helping her patients make impactful decisions about their bodies is getting harder and harder to do because of the amount of changes to abortion laws. 

"As a physician, there's also a lot of confusion. Confusion among physicians now about what's legal, what isn't legal, what can I advise?" she said. 

Kohli said she feels like those gray areas are restricting the medical attention she can currently provide. 

"It's tied my hands to be able to talk to my patient — who might be a woman that's pregnant — and talk to her about all the potential options," Kohli said. "So, as a physician, my treatment options are immensely limited."

Many Iowans still have unanswered questions, and experts say that's normal; there are still a lot of aspects that are unclear. 

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