DES MOINES, Iowa — The fetal heartbeat bill passed by the 2018 Iowa legislature and signed into law by Governor Kim Reynolds has been blocked by a permanent injunction for several years.
The bill originally was blocked by a temporary injunction in 2018, and then the permanent injunction in 2019. But with changes to how the Iowa Supreme Court reversed its 2018 decision, abortion is not recognized as a fundamental right in the state; the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade and the governor is trying to get the injunction lifted.
On Friday, legal counsel for Governor Reynolds, the state of Iowa and the State Board of Medicine made their pitch to a Polk County Judge.
“As a result my clients are here today asking this court to dissolve the injunction against them in 2019 because now there is no fundamental right to an abortion in the state of Iowa’s constitution or the U.S. Constitution,” said Chris Schandevel, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom. “Now that it is clear that strict scrutiny is no longer the test and now it is clear that the viability line is no more, faithfully applying Iowa binding law requires the court to reach a different result.”
The fetal heartbeat bill includes exceptions for rape, incest and health of the mother. The petitioners in the hearing on Friday said that regardless of the Iowa Supreme Court ruling, the request to lift the permanent injunction is baseless.
“This is a draconian and inhumane law that bans abortion at the earliest stages before many people know they are pregnant,” said Rita Bettis Austen, the Legal Director of the ACLU of Iowa. “Judge Huppert’s final order in 2019 permanently prohibiting the state from enforcing this law against Iowans closed this case, and the state’s efforts to revive it and start enforcing the abortion ban are meritless.”
Iowa District Judge Celene Gogerty listened to both sides in the hearing, but there is no timetable for when Judge Gogerty could make a decision on the permanent injunction.