US motorist accused of crashing car into abortion rights protester

Group protested in front of federal court after Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade ruling

A demonstrator shouts outside the White House during a Women's March protest in the wake of the US Supreme Court overturning Roe v Wade. Reuters
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A man from the US state of Iowa has been accused of driving his vehicle through a group of abortion rights protesters in Cedar Rapids in June, and striking a woman before driving away, court documents on Wednesday showed.

David Alan Huston faces the criminal charges of assault with a dangerous weapon and leaving the scene of a personal injury accident, according to the court documents.

There is no evidence to indicate the crash was politically motivated, Black Hawk County Attorney Brian Williams said.

Mr Williams said there was also no evidence that any of the protesters acted aggressively.

Mr Huston did not immediately return messages on Wednesday seeking comment on the charges, and online court records did not yet list a lawyer for him.

A group organised by Indivisible Iowa and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Iowa was protesting in front of the federal courthouse in Cedar Rapids to support access to abortion.

That was after the US Supreme Court overturned the 1973 Roe v Wade decision that made abortion legal nationwide.

Iowa law bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The state Supreme Court in June cleared the way for stricter limits when it reversed an earlier court decision that found the Iowa constitution guaranteed the right to abortion.

The Republican Governor of Iowa, Kim Reynolds, has promised to work through the courts to revive a six-week ban that was earlier blocked.

Video of the June 24 crash shows protesters were crossing a street when a large pickup truck drove through the group, even as other vehicles waited for them to cross, Mr Williams said.

Protesters tried to to stop the pickup by blocking its path, resulting in one woman being struck. Court documents do not indicate the extent of her injuries.

Mr Huston “then left the scene without any attempt to exchange information", court documents say.

The crash happened in Linn County, but prosecutors asked a judge to shift the case to Black Hawk County because of a potential conflict of interest.

Updated: August 10, 2022, 9:25 PM