DES MOINES, IOWA — A Polk County judge has again ruled against Governor Kim Reynolds and the “Fetal Heartbeat Bill” she signed into law four years – but which has never been allowed to take effect. The law would make abortions illegal after a heartbeat – or electrical impulses from the heart – were detected in an embryo. This could be as soon as six weeks after a woman becomes pregnant – and before she could know she was pregnant.
Planned Parenthood successfully stopped the law from taking effect after a court found that it violated the constitutional right to an abortion in Iowa. A permanent injunction was then entered by the Iowa Supreme Court, blocking the law from ever taking effect. In a ruling earlier this year, the Iowa Supreme Court reversed its views on abortion rights – ruling the state doesn’t guarantee that right following the overturning of the Roe v. Wade decision by the US Supreme Court.
The Reynolds administration then filed a new court argument, claiming the change in state and federal legal rules following the overturning of Roe v. Wade should allow the Fetal Heartbeat law to take affect. However, in her ruling on Monday, Polk County judge Celene Gogerty again sided with Planned Parenthood. Gogerty explains that Iowa courts don’t have an established system for reversing a permanent injunction – in essence permanent means permanent. Gogerty also points out that a change in federal rulings doesn’t mean that Iowa law has changed.