Governor Reynolds of Iowa stated Monday that the government will not seek an appeal after the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that the “fetal heartbeat” law passed last May was unconstitutional. This unconstitutional law, if had it gone into effect, would have been one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the United States.
Those against the law exclaimed their victory as a win for women seeking medical abortion across Iowa. Clinics, such as the Emma Goldman Clinic in Iowa City, will be permitted to continue providing first and second trimester abortions. The rejection of this law will allow Iowa women to continue to access legal abortion care from healthcare professionals.
The case was brought before the Iowa Supreme Court by Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa on grounds that it violated state constitutional law. Last June, the Iowa State Supreme Court ruled that Iowa’s constitution ensures the right to abortion, and as such, “imposes strict scrutiny on all our abortion laws.” Those in favor of the law had anticipated that Governor Reynolds would seek an appeal in hopes of escalating the case to the United States Supreme Court, a body which has been expected to make conservative-leaning rulings with the addition of Justice Kavanaugh.
The law, signed by Governor Reynolds last May, would have banned abortion as soon as a fetal heartbeat could be detected, which can occur as early as six weeks. Planned Parenthood of the Heartland warned that if this bill was allowed by the court, women would be unable to seek abortion services before many women even knew they were pregnant, well before viability. This would essentially outlaw legal abortion in practice.
CNN 2019; WOWT 2019; ABC Nine 2019; Planned Parenthood of the Heartland 2019; ACLU Iowa 2019