Nation's most restrictive abortion law is challenged in Iowa


The law is slated to go into effect July 1, but the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Emma Goldman Clinic of Iowa City said it would be the most restrictive ban in the country, violating women's rights to obtain an abortion.

"Enough is enough. Gov. Kim Reynolds has no right to impose her beliefs on Iowa women".

Their lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Polk County District Court, they announced at a press conference Tuesday.

What backers of the fetal-heartbeat law may not have counted on was the move by plaintiffs to bring the action in state court rather than federal court, meaning the challenge to the law won't end up before the U.S. Supreme Court because the suit citing the state constitution can not be removed to federal court, according Rita Bettis, legal director for the ACLU of Iowa.

"This abortion ban is beyond extreme", said Rita Bettis, ACLU of Iowa legal director.

Republican state Senator Rick Bertrand said last month the law was in part "an opportunity to take a run at Roe v. Wade".

"We will be represented by the Thomas More Society at no cost to taxpayers".

They seek to have the law struck down as unconstitutional and are requesting a temporary injunction with an expedited hearing within 14 days as the case progresses.

The state's largest pro-life group, Iowa Right to Life, has called the bill's passage a major step forward in achieving legal protection for unborn children.

Miller's office defended the state when Planned Parenthood sued over the 2017 law that mandated a 72-hour waiting period for women seeking abortions. If a heartbeat is detected, a physician could perform an abortion only in cases of rape, incest and fetal abnormality prior to the 20th week of gestation, but only if the women reports the rape within 45 days or incest within 140 days. "It has been a very striking shift in the state Legislature, and it really shows how important state legislatures are to abortion access".

Francine Thompson, co-director of the Emma Goldman Clinic in Iowa City, said the law would have a devastating impact on the women her clinic sees every day.

Governor Reynolds said in a statement when she signed the bill, "I believe that all innocent life is precious and sacred, and as governor, I pledged to do everything in my power to protect it".

A 2017 Iowa law that requires a minimum 72-hour waiting period before obtaining an abortion is now blocked while the Iowa Supreme Court decides whether to strike it down.

Iowa's so-called heartbeat ban (SF 359) prohibits doctors from performing abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as six weeks' gestation and before many people even know they're pregnant.

The Iowa Supreme Court is expect to rule on that case in the near future.