Iowa Supreme Court Blocks 72-Hour Abortion Waiting Period Law

Iowa Supreme Court Blocks 72-Hour Abortion Waiting Period Law

The judge sided with Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa in a lawsuit.
Lawmakers in Des Moines, Iowa, passed a pair of restrictive and controversial abortion bills in the past year.

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Lawmakers in Des Moines, Iowa, passed a pair of restrictive and controversial abortion bills in the past year.
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The Iowa Supreme Court decided Friday that a provision requiring women to wait 72 hours to get an abortion violates the state’s constitution.

In May of last year, Iowa’s then-Gov. Terry Branstad signed a law including the measure. The law also restricts abortions after 20 weeks.

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa sued the state over the waiting period, which was blocked from going into effect pending the outcome of the litigation.

Lawyers for the state argued that the waiting period would give women more time to make a decision based on information about the procedure’s risks that abortion providers are required to supply. Lawyers for Planned Parenthood and the ACLU pointed out that the wait is medically unnecessary, violating the state’s due process and equal protection clauses, according to The Des Moines Register.

The 20-week ban is still the books, and another piece of legislation signed by current Gov. Kim Reynolds threatens to restrict abortion access even more.

She signed in May what is widely considered the nation’s strictest abortion law, prohibiting women from terminating pregnancies after an ultrasound detects a fetal heartbeat, which comes around the six-week mark. Many women do not even know they are pregnant at six weeks ― a main argument for opponents who argue the law is much too restrictive.

A judge blocked the so-called fetal-heartbeat bill from going into effect this month pending litigation, again brought by Planned Parenthood and the ACLU.

The state will be represented by the conservative Chicago-based Thomas More Society after Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, a Democrat, decided in May he could not in good conscience defend the bill.

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Sara Boboltz

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Planned Parenthood American Civil Liberties UnionKim ReynoldsAbortion LawSupreme Court Of Iowa