partlycloudy
Monday June 18th, 2018 1:12PM

Judge agrees to halt fetal heartbeat abortion law in Iowa

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa judge agreed Friday to temporarily block the most restrictive abortion law in the country under an agreement between the state and abortion rights groups.

Attorneys for the state and Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds told the judge they agreed to prevent the law from taking effect on July 1 after discussions with three groups challenging the law: the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, Planned Parenthood Federation of American and the Emma Goldman Clinic.

The groups are suing the state, arguing that the law — which bans most abortions if a fetal heartbeat can be detected — is unconstitutional. An attorney representing the state said Friday that the goal now is to quickly get the case before a judge "for the sake of getting to a resolution on the merits sooner and better."

"This is a much better outcome for women than having to spend the next few weeks worrying about whether or not they're going to be able to exercise their fundamental right to have a safe and legal abortion in Iowa," said Rita Bettis, ACLU of Iowa attorney.

Judge Michael Huppert said he would formally issue a temporary injunction later Friday. The injunction means the law won't go into effect until the lawsuit is resolved, which could take months. Both sides have said they want the case to go to the Iowa Supreme Court — though anti-abortion rights groups are aiming for the U.S. Supreme Court.

The state is being represented for free by the Thomas More Society, a conservative Chicago-based law firm that stepped in after Democratic Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller refused to defend the law. Miller said he believed the law undermines the rights and protections for women.

Reynolds signed the law May 4, two days after lawmakers sent her the legislation. The moves marked a dramatic change in abortion policy in Iowa, which before the 2016 elections had little to no role in the broad Republican 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.

The 2016 election flipped control of the Iowa Senate, putting Republicans in charge of the Legislature and the governor's office for the first time in two decades. Among the results: numerous anti-abortion bills, including a 20-week abortion ban and a requirement that women wait three days before ending a pregnancy.

The waiting provision — one of the longest in the country — also is on hold because of a different lawsuit. Iowa Republicans also gave up millions in federal dollars last year to create a state-funded family planning program that prohibits participation from abortion providers, such as Planned Parenthood.

If the fetal heartbeat law is eventually allowed to take effect in Iowa, most abortions would be banned after around the sixth week of pregnancy — a time when, abortion-rights groups say, many women don't even know they're pregnant.

Planned Parenthood and the Emma Goldman Clinic, which is in Iowa City, said they provided nearly 3,000 abortions last year. They argue the law is an all-out ban on abortion, in violation of women's constitutional rights.

"From our side, there aren't really any questions that at six-week gestation an embryo is not viable, so it is hard to imagine how this (court fight) could take a very long time," Bettis said. "But we will wait and see what their answer says ultimately then we'll have a better idea."

Martin Cannon, a lawyer with Thomas More Society, noted that the latest lawsuit was filed in state court, meaning getting the case into the federal court system is difficult. But, he said, "there is plenty to argue about right here in Iowa in front of this supreme court."

Bob Vander Plaats, CEO of the conservative Christian group Family Leader, said he and other anti-abortion activists aren't deterred.

"This is going to be the long game," he said. "I do believe that this will be the vehicle that will end abortion in this country."

___

This story has been corrected to reflect the governor signed the bill on May 4.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Local/State News, Politics, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Health, AP Health - Women's health
© Copyright 2018 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Mormons grapple with race 40 years after ending black ban
The Mormon church is celebrating the 40th anniversary of reversing its ban on black people in the lay priesthood
2:19AM ( 9 hours ago )
Former dean convicted of shooting student over marijuana
A former dean at a Boston high school who was known as an anti-violence advocate has been convicted of shooting and nearly killing a 17-year-old student
6:02PM ( 17 hours ago )
Missouri governor took a path less trod to win, lose office
Missouri governor took less traveled paths to win, and lose, political power
5:37PM ( 18 hours ago )
U.S. News
Macron talks to Trump, says tariffs illegal and a mistake
French President Emmanuel Macron has told U.S. President Donald Trump that the new U.S. tariffs on European, Mexican and Canadian goods are illegal and a "mistake."
11:46AM ( 8 minutes ago )
Dean-turned-dealer gets up to 26 years for maiming student
A former high school dean and anti-violence advocate nicknamed "Rev" for his pastor-like influence was sentenced Friday to up to 26 years in prison for shooting and nearly killing a student he had recruited to sell marijuana for him.
11:40AM ( 14 minutes ago )
Sip and ship: Tourists can now send distillery whiskey home
The whiskey industry is celebrating a new Kentucky law that will allow tourists to have bottles shipped from distilleries to their homes.
11:37AM ( 17 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Manhunt: Suspect captured in slaying of Tennessee deputy
Authorities captured a suspect in the slaying of a Tennessee sheriff's deputy on Friday, saying they found their man not far from the shooting scene
11:10AM ( 43 minutes ago )
The Latest: EU's Tusk congratulates Italy's new leader Conte
European Council President Donald Tusk has congratulated Giuseppe Conte on his appointment as Italy's new prime minister and called for "unity and solidarity more than ever."
11:09AM ( 45 minutes ago )
Facebook kills 'trending' topics, tests breaking news label
Facebook is shutting down its sometimes-problematic "trending" news section after four years
11:08AM ( 46 minutes ago )
AP National News
Missing people sought as Alberto soaks several states
As remnants of Alberto spin into the Great Lakes region, Southeast Appalachia weary after floods and mudslides
5:25PM ( 18 hours ago )
Woman found dead 11 days after vanishing from care facility
An elderly woman whose family says she had dementia was found dead in a stairwell at a power plant near a San Francisco hospital 11 days after checking herself out of a nearby city-run care facility
4:21PM ( 19 hours ago )
All business: Spelling bee finalists cut out distractions
Sixteen kids have advanced to the primetime finals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, including three who finished in the top 10 last year
4:15PM ( 19 hours ago )
Top U.S. News short headlines
US gains 223K jobs; unemployment at 18-year low of 3.8 pct.
US employers added 223,000 jobs last month as unemployment rate fell to 18-year low of 3.8 pct.
9:21AM ( 2 hours ago )
Socialist opposition leader to take over Spain's new govt
Socialist party leader Pedro Sanchez is set to become Spain's new prime minister after a no-confidence vote in parliament unseated the country's conservative government
9:19AM ( 2 hours ago )
North Koreans to meet Trump; deliver letter from leader
A top aide to Kim Jong Un will make a rare visit to Washington to deliver a letter from the North Korean leader to President Donald Trump on Friday.
9:10AM ( 2 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
Mormons grapple with race 40 years after ending black ban
The Mormon church is celebrating the 40th anniversary of reversing its ban on black people in the lay priesthood
2:19AM ( 9 hours ago )
Former dean convicted of shooting student over marijuana
A former dean at a Boston high school who was known as an anti-violence advocate has been convicted of shooting and nearly killing a 17-year-old student
6:02PM ( 17 hours ago )
Missouri governor took a path less trod to win, lose office
Missouri governor took less traveled paths to win, and lose, political power
5:37PM ( 18 hours ago )
Missing people sought as Alberto soaks several states
As remnants of Alberto spin into the Great Lakes region, Southeast Appalachia weary after floods and mudslides
5:25PM ( 18 hours ago )
Woman found dead 11 days after vanishing from care facility
An elderly woman whose family says she had dementia was found dead in a stairwell at a power plant near a San Francisco hospital 11 days after checking herself out of a nearby city-run care facility
4:21PM ( 19 hours ago )