Abortion Rights Groups Win Reprieve in Iowa

Judge agrees to temporarily block most restrictive abortion law in US, set to go into effect July 1
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 1, 2018 12:51 PM CDT
American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa Legal Director Rita Bettis, right, speaks during a news conference as Emma Goldman Clinic attorney Sam Jones looks on on Friday in Des Moines, Iowa.   (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
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(Newser) – A judge agreed Friday to temporarily block the most restrictive abortion law in the country from taking effect in Iowa next month under an agreement between lawyers for the state and abortion rights groups. Attorneys for the state and Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds said during a court hearing that they agreed to prevent the law from taking effect on July 1 after discussions with the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and Emma Goldman Clinic, per the AP. The advocacy groups argue the law is unconstitutional and have filed a lawsuit to block the law, which bans most abortions if a fetal heartbeat can be detected. An attorney representing the state said the goal now is to quickly get the case before a judge so the state can argue the law is constitutional. Judge Michael Huppert will formally issue a temporary injunction.

Reynolds signed the law May 2, two days after lawmakers approved it. If the law is eventually allowed to take effect, the fetal heartbeat requirement would ban abortions around the sixth week of pregnancy—a time when, abortion rights groups say, many women don't yet know they're pregnant. Lawmakers adopted several abortion restrictions in 2017, including a 20-week abortion ban and a requirement that women wait three days before ending a pregnancy. The waiting provision, one of the longest in the country, is on hold due to a different suit. Separately, a new Iowa-based coalition of anti-abortion groups was formed last year to renew efforts toward an abortion ban. Iowa Republicans last year also gave up millions in federal dollars to create a state-funded family planning program that prohibits participation from abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood.


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