May 23, 2018

Planned Parenthood, ACLU Sue Iowa Over 'Cruel' 6-Week Abortion Ban

16 May 2018, 03:55 | Taylor George

Clinics Sue Iowa Over Six-Week Abortion Ban

Pro-choice groups challenge Iowa's strict abortion ban

As of 3:15 p.m. Tuesday, Gov. Reynolds has yet to issue a statement in response to the lawsuit.

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.

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, a Democrat, has decided he will not represent the state in this case.

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. "In the 45 years since (Roe v. Wade), no federal or state court has upheld such a risky law".

"In the 45 years since Roe, no federal or state court has upheld such a unsafe law", Rita Bettis, ACLU of Iowa legal director, said in a statement.

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

The law contains certain ultrasound requirements, though Tuesday's lawsuit only challenges the heartbeat ban portion of the law.

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Iowa's "heartbeat" bill was passed by the Iowa House, 51-46, and the state Senate passed the bill 29-17 in early May, sending it to Gov. Kim Reynolds (R), who has said abortion is "equivalent to murder".

In 2015, the state's high court unanimously struck down rules enacted by the Iowa Board of Medicine that effectively banned the remote distribution of an abortion-inducing pill using a video conferencing system known as "telemedicine".

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

Critics of the bill argued it was poorly written with vague language creating uncertainty for doctors making medical decisions in the best interests of their patients, and would not pass constitutional muster.

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.

The state legislature previous year also passed a 72-hour waiting requirement for women seeking an abortion. Last week, she said when referring to the new law, "I have had very positive feedback". "And we will continue to fight the efforts of anti-woman politicians to interfere in our personal health care decisions and lives". "Planned Parenthood is challenging this law because the Iowa Constitution is clear a woman has a right to access a safe and legal abortion".

Planned Parenthood and the ACLU of Iowa previously brought a legal challenge to the constitutionality of a 72-hour waiting period for a woman to obtain an abortion that was approved during the 2017 legislative session and signed by then-Gov.

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