Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Global | By Marsha Munoz

Pro-choice groups challenge Iowa's strict abortion ban

Pro-choice groups challenge Iowa's strict abortion ban

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. Last year, they approved a 20-week abortion ban and required women to wait three days before they could have an abortion.

The lawsuit names Reynolds and the Iowa Board of Medicine as defendants.

In a letter, Solicitor General Jeffrey Thompson said that Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller's decision to disqualify himself "is based on the Attorney General's determination that he could not zealously assert the state's position because of his core belief that the statute, if upheld, would undermine rights and protections for women".

Planned Parenthood and the ACLU said they hope to avoid that possibility by only challenging the law under the Iowa Constitution.

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"We feel very confident moving forward with it", said Reynolds, who talked to reporters in Davenport after a Quad-Cities Chamber of Commerce luncheon, "and so it's important that, first of all, this is about life, it's about protecting life and that's first and foremost the priority, and we have somebody that has agreed to represent us and do it at no cost to the taxpayers".

"The timing makes it an nearly complete ban on abortions in our state", said Emma Goldman Clinic Co-director Francine Thompson. "In the 45 years since Roe, no federal or state court has upheld such a unsafe law".

The legislation would require doctors to conduct an abdominal ultrasound to test for a fetal heartbeat.

The law bans abortion once a heartbeat can be detected in the fetus, typically around six weeks.

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The bill does not specify criminal or civil penalties for those breaking the law.

"This law must not go into effect", said Dr. Jill Meadows, M.D., co-plaintiff and Planned Parenthood of the Heartland Medical Director. It argues the new law violates the Iowa Constitution.

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. Abortion-rights groups say that's a time when many women do not know they are pregnant. "I am not going to back down from who I am or what I believe in". "We will not back down until every person has the freedom and opportunity to make the health care decisions that are best for them and their families".

GOP lawmakers in MS earlier this year passed a 15-week abortion ban.

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Iowa is now in court defending a 2017 abortion law that imposes a 72-hour mandatory waiting period and an additional trip requirement for women seeking an abortion.

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