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Lawsuit Aims To Stop Iowa's Abortion Law From Going Into Effect

Lawsuit Aims To Stop Iowa's Abortion Law From Going Into Effect

Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union's Iowa branch said they sued on Tuesday to stop a state law that would impose the strictest abortion limits in the United States from taking effect.

If allowed to take effect on July 1 as planned, the law would ban most abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, around the sixth week of pregnancy.

The lawsuit was filed in Polk County District Court by attorneys with the ACLU of Iowa and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America on behalf of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, Dr. Jill Meadows and the Emma Goldman Clinic of Iowa City. It seeks an injunction to halt the law's implementation.

The Iowa law is part of a flurry of legislation that aims to test the legality of abortion restrictions, as some Republicans want legal challenges to the laws to reach the U.S. Supreme Court in an effort to overturn its landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.

If the ban takes effect, Iowa women would have to travel out of state to obtain an abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected. Jake Chapman, a Republican from Adel, during a debate in the Iowa Senate. Up to that point, Democrats had maintained enough political power to curtail most Republican anti-abortion attempts. The waiting provision, one of the longest in the country, is on hold because of a different lawsuit. It argues the new law violates the Iowa Constitution. The Coalition of Pro-Life Leaders, which includes Family Leader, put aside years of disagreement among the groups to help win passage of the 20-week ban and the six-week ban.

"This bill was to protect Iowa children, and it's about time that we looked at this life issue and have it reviewed in the court system", Iowans for Life Executive Director Maggie Dewitte said. "In the 45 years since (Roe v. Wade), no federal or state court has upheld such a unsafe law".

Francine Thompson, co-director of the Emma Goldman Clinic in Iowa City, said the law would have a devastating impact on the women her clinic sees every day.

Shortly after the announcement of the lawsuit, Iowa's longtime attorney general said he would not defend the law. The firm had no immediate comment.

"Most of the people who come to us are beyond six weeks [gestation] and it would mean they would have to go out of state", de Baca said.

"The timing essentially makes it an almost-complete ban on abortions in our state".

Bettis said they filed the lawsuit because they believe Iowa's constitutional protections for abortion rights, set out in an earlier telemedicine case before the Iowa Supreme Court, are "as strong if not more so" than the federal constitution.

"We feel very confident moving forward with it", Reynolds said. "That's the first and foremost priority", she said.

"It's about protecting life".