Suit challenges Iowa abortion law

Ceria Alfonso
May 17, 2018

"Pursuant to Iowa Code section 13.3, Attorney General Tom Miller has disqualified himself from representing the state in litigation challenging the recently enacted Senate File 359, the fetal heartbeat bill". Abortion-rights groups say that's a time when many women do not know they are pregnant.

Miller decided that he "could not zealously assert the state's position because of his core belief that the statute, if upheld, would undermine rights and protections for women", according to a letter from Solicitor General Jeffrey Thompson.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America announced the filing of the complaint in Polk County District Court in Des Moines. The firm had no immediate comment.

Until the 2016 election, Iowa had little to no role in the broad GOP effort to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that established a woman's right to terminate a pregnancy until a fetus is viable.

Other plaintiffs include Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, the affiliate's medical director and the Emma Goldman Clinic in Iowa City.

Well, Iowa, of course, as you just reported, I mean, this is one of the most extreme abortion bans in the country. GOP lawmakers in MS earlier this year passed a 15-week abortion ban.

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The law is evidence of the state's conservative shift after the 2016 election, when Republicans gained control of the Legislature and the governor's office for the first time in almost 20 years.

Separately, a new Iowa-based coalition of anti-abortion organizations was formed a year ago to renew efforts toward an abortion ban.

The law would prevent a woman from getting an abortion once a heartbeat is detected.

"It's a way to wiggle away at Planned Parenthood federal funding, and a way to reinforce the idea that abortion is not family planning", Marcum told The Hill.

A US appeals court has refused to dismiss a lawsuit by Planned Parenthood over videos that a group says show employees of the organization illegally selling parts of aborted fetuses.

Earlier this month, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed into law a measure that would outlaw abortions after detection of a fetal heartbeat, which is typically possible around six weeks into pregnancy. "That's the first and foremost priority", she said.

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