Friday, 17 August, 2018

Planned Parenthood, ACLU Sue Iowa Governor Over Fetal Heartbeat Abortion Law

Planned Parenthood supporters rally outside the Iowa Capitol Building Friday Planned Parenthood supporters rally outside the Iowa Capitol Building Friday
Patty Aguilar | 16 May, 2018, 06:25

The ACLU of Iowa and Planned Parenthood on behalf of Dr. Jill Medows and the Emily Goldman Clinic of Iowa City filed that lawsuit Tuesday. It was signed by Mississippi's Republican governor and quickly put on hold after a court challenge.

"The disqualification 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", the letter says.

Until the 2016 election, Iowa had little to no role in the broad GOP effort to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that established a woman's right to terminate a pregnancy until a fetus is viable.

Pro-choice advocates filed a lawsuit Monday to stop Iowa's new law banning abortions after roughly six weeks. GOP lawmakers in MS earlier this year passed a 15-week abortion ban.

Rita Bettis, ACLU of Iowa Legal Director, told reporters Tuesday that "this abortion ban is beyond extreme".

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".

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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".

"We feel very confident moving forward with it", Reynolds said.

Chuck Hurley is chief counsel for the Family Leader, a faith-based group in Iowa that opposes abortion. "With it, Iowa politicians have tried to ban virtually all abortions for women in our state".

Other plaintiffs include Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, the affiliate's medical director and the Emma Goldman Clinic in Iowa City. The law provides exceptions for pregnancies that result from rape or incest, but those must be reported to law enforcement within 45 days.

But Tuesday's lawsuit was filed in state court, not federal court. Doctors who violate this exception would lose their licenses. A heartbeat typically manifests at about six weeks into a pregnancy.

"The timing essentially makes it an almost-complete ban on abortions in our state". They are also asking the Polk County District Court to block the law from taking effect while the lawsuit plays out. "The requirement of reporting rape within 45 days, for example, is completely out of touch with the reality that survivors of those horrendous crimes live with".

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