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Iowa Judge Sets Hearing on Governor’s Abortion Order

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa judge has set a hearing for Wednesday to consider whether to block an order by Gov. Kim Reynolds that temporarily halted abortions in the state.

State district court Judge Andrew Chappell signed an order Monday setting the telephone hearing to consider arguments by abortion providers and the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa. They say Reynolds is violating the state constitution by including abortion in an order she enacted Friday to halt all elective and non-emergency medical procedures. Reynolds will be represented by the Iowa attorney general’s office.

Reynolds, a Republican, said the move was to preserve medical equipment during the coronavirus pandemic emergency and denied it was based on her opposition to abortion rights.

ACLU of Iowa lawyer Rita Bettis Austen said in court filings that 30 women were scheduled for abortion procedures the week of March 30. Unless the court orders the state not to enforce Reynolds order pertaining to abortions, the women face significant delays and some may be forced to have babies against their will.

Federal judges on Monday temporarily blocked efforts in Texas and Alabama to ban abortions during the coronavirus pandemic. A judge in Ohio also found it’s governor’s order unconstitutional if it bans abortions.

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