Advocates Sue to Block Iowa's Total Abortion Ban

Advocates Sue to Block Iowa's Total 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.

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

Nearly immediately after the lawsuit was filed, the state's attorney general said he would not defend the new law. The say the state constitution, not the U.S. Constitution, guarantees a woman's right to abortion.

As of 3:15 p.m. Tuesday, Gov. Reynolds has yet to issue a statement in response to the lawsuit. Democrat Tom Miller said the decision to remove his office from the case was based on a belief that the measure "would undermine rights and protections for women".

The lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America seeks an injunction that would put the law's July 1 implementation on hold during the lawsuit, a legal process that could take years.

"Today we will begin this journey as Iowa becomes ground zero nationally for the life movement and the starting line back to the Supreme Court", said Sen.

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Suzanna de Baca, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, said Iowa's abortion law is tied to a small group of "very extreme politicians" in the state Legislature. "Abortion care must remain safe and legal as an important part of basic reproductive health care".

The legislation would require doctors to conduct an abdominal ultrasound to test for a fetal heartbeat. It prohibits a physician from performing an abortion "when it has been determined that the unborn child has a detectable fetal heartbeat", which happens at about six weeks.

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. It argues the new law violates the Iowa Constitution.

"The timing essentially makes it an almost-complete ban on abortions in our state". Despite the legal challenges, she said, "This is about life; I am not going to back down from who I am or what I believe in". "This law must be struck down". Critics have pointed out that the legislation would effectively ban abortion at six weeks and before a woman is aware she is pregnant.

Similar lawsuits are underway in MS, which passed a ban on abortion after 15 weeks, and Kentucky, which banned abortions after 11 weeks.

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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