Clinics Sue Iowa Over Six-Week Abortion Ban

Two organizations are expected to announce a lawsuit challenging a new Iowa law that bans most abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected

Two organizations are expected to announce a lawsuit challenging a new Iowa law that bans most abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected

The lawsuit argues that the law violates the Iowa Constitution by banning almost all abortions and putting women's health at risk.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and abortion provider Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit in Iowa state court to block it. The "heartbeat" bill passed the Iowa House and Senate earlier this month and was signed by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds soon after. 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 Iowa law is slated to take effect July 1st.

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ACLU of Iowa Legal Director Rita Bettis said no state or federal court has upheld an abortion law that is this restrictive. The law would allow abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy in cases of rape if a women reports the crime within 45 days and in case of incest if the crime is reported within 140 days.

"I understand and anticipate that this will likely be challenged in court, and that courts may even put a hold on the law until it reaches the Supreme Court", the governor said "However, this is bigger than just a law".

The lawsuit names Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Board of Medicine as defendants.

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Miller said the Thomas More Society, a conservative Chicago-based law firm, has agreed to defend the law for free. That means it's highly unlikely the lawsuit would appear in federal courts and present a challenge to the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.

Jill Meadows, medical director of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and a co-plaintiff in the lawsuit, said it is important that the law not go into effect: "Abortion care must remain safe and legal as an important part of basic reproductive health care".

Iowa just passed one of the strictest abortion laws in the USA, and reproductive rights activists are livid. The new legislation also bans the sale of all fetal tissue in the state. Pro-abortion rights advocates say those who don't have the resources to leave Iowa will be forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term, or in some cases will attempt to self-induce, a sometimes-dangerous act. "It seems very uncharacteristic and extreme for an abortion ban of this magnitude to happen here". "In the 45 years since Roe, no federal or state court has upheld such a risky law".

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Separately, a new Iowa-based coalition of anti-abortion organizations was formed past year to renew efforts toward an abortion ban.

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