Planned Parenthood, ACLU File Lawsuit Challenging Fetal Heartbeat Bill

Pro-choice groups challenge Iowa's strict abortion ban

She said the state's legal costs would be covered by the Thomas More Society, an anti-abortion law firm.

There are some exceptions in the law. It bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which is usually about six weeks into a pregnancy.

The ACLU of Iowa argues that if the court upholds the 72-hour wait period as well as the six-week ban, women will be placed in a unsafe position where they are forced to either carry an unwanted pregnancy to term, obtain an abortion in another state or self-induce an abortion.

A 2017 Iowa law that requires a minimum 72-hour waiting period before obtaining an abortion is now blocked while the Iowa Supreme Court decides whether to strike it down. In Mississippi earlier this year, GOP lawmakers passed a 15-week abortion ban that was signed by Mississippi's Republican governor, but the law was quickly put on hold after a court challenge.

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, a Democrat, previously indicated his office would disqualify itself and not represent the state in defense of the "heartbeat" law if a legal challenge was filed. "In the 45 years since (Roe v. Wade), no federal or state court has upheld such a unsafe law".

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Bettis said the trio of groups is bringing the legal action in state court because the organizations believe Iowa's constitutional protections for abortion rights set out in an earlier telemedicine case before the Iowa Supreme Court are "as strong if not more so" than the federal Constitution.

In a statement, Planned Parenthood called the law "blatantly unconstitutional" and "extremely harmful to women". Cases of rape must be reported to a law enforcement agency, a public or private health agency, or family physician within 45 days. "Enough is enough. Gov. Kim Reynolds has no right to impose her beliefs on Iowa women".

"We've moved quickly to challenge this cruel and reckless law because it can not be allowed to take effect", ACLU Iowa legal director Rita Bettis said, according to The Associated Press. The law does not allow a woman to access an abortion due to "psychological conditions, emotional conditions, familial conditions, or the woman's age". An Iowa City clinic is also a plaintiff.

"The cutoff period of this bill at around six weeks simply does not work for women".

"The timing essentially makes it an almost-complete ban on abortions in our state. 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", she said.

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