Iowa’s ‘Fetal Heartbeat’ Law Faces Its First Challenges in Court

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DES MOINES, Iowa  --  Iowa’s ‘Fetal Heartbeat Law’ could take effect in one month, but it all depends on Friday’s hearing for a temporary injunction of the law.

District Court Judge Michael Huppert will hear arguments Friday over whether Iowa’s ‘Fetal Heartbeat’ abortion law should be temporarily barred while the lawsuit is still ongoing.

American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa (ACLU) is representing Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and the Emma Goldman Clinic in a lawsuit that hopes to repeal the abortion bill signed by Governor Reynolds last month. That bill bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected.

The ACLU said the law is unconstitutional and exceptions to the law for rape and incest are not realistic.

“The requirement of reporting rape within 45 days and incest within 140 days is completely out of touch with the reality that survivors of those horrendous crimes must live with,” Emma Goldman Clinic’s Francine Thompson said.

The Emma Goldman Clinic was the first facility in Iowa to offer abortions after the 19-73 Roe versus Wade Supreme Court ruling legalized abortions.

The ACLU said this hearing will not impact the pending Iowa Supreme Court ruling to block the 72-hour wait period before a woman could get an abortion. They are awaiting that decision before the Iowa Supreme Court adjourns at the end of June.

Planned Parenthood said this law does not reflect Iowans – Prolife advocates said it does.

“I think it’s a clear indication of our culture and our state and of our shifting. We have science on our side and we have the Iowans on our side that they want to see life protected in our state,” Iowans for Life’s Maggie DeWitte said.

Governor Reynolds released a statement regarding the lawsuit, “We knew there would be a legal fight, but it’s a fight worth having to protect innocent life. We will be represented by the Thomas More Society at no cost to taxpayers.”

The hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. at the Polk County Courthouse. As of right now, the ‘Fetal Heartbeat Law’ does not go into effect until July 1st. The ACLU said after the hearing, the judge isn’t likely to make a decision on the temporary injunction until mid-June.


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