Judge Puts Temporary Halt On Iowa’s Controversial ‘Fetal Heartbeat’ Bill
On Friday, an Iowa judge in Polk County District Court granted a temporary injunction on the state’s controversial “fetal heartbeat” bill that would restrict abortion, in many cases, after just six weeks once a fetal heartbeat is first detected.
The hearing lasted just a few minutes and lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) representing the plaintiffs, were able to temporarily block the bills implementation. Originally scheduled to go in effect July 1, lawyers representing the state raised no objections to the bills temporary halt.
In the suit the plaintiffs, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and the Emma Goldman Clinic based in Iowa City, argued the controversial law violates the women of Iowa’s due-process rights, to liberty, safety, and happiness, and to their rights of equal protection under the constitution. The bill also challenges the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that protects a women’s right to abortion before the fetus is considered viable outside of the womb, around 23-24 weeks.
If enacted, the law would be the most restrictive in the country. The state’s own Attorney General, Tom Miller, a Democrat, has refused to allow his office to represent the state on the grounds that it “would undermine rights and protections for women.”
The state is instead being represented by lawyers from the Thomas Moore Society, a Conservative law firm based in Chicago, Illinois.
However it’s not over yet, as Iowa’s Republican Governor Kim Reynolds said after signing the bill on May 4, “I understand and anticipate that this will likely be challenged in court, and that courts may even put a hold on the law until it reaches the Supreme Court.”
The “fetal heartbeat” bill, also known as Senate File 359, was easily passed through the Republican dominated state legislature where it was signed just days later by Reynolds who later said “this is bigger than just a law. This is about life.”