Clinics Sue Iowa Over Six-Week Abortion Ban

Pro-choice groups challenge Iowa's strict abortion ban

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) said after signing the bill on Saturday that the "work is not done" when it comes to restricting abortions in the state.

A lawsuit asking the court to block Iowa's newest abortion law has officially been filed.

If the ban takes effect, Iowa women would have to travel out of state to obtain an abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected.

Nearly all abortions in Iowa will become illegal if the law goes into effect as scheduled on July 1. Democrat Tom Miller said he based his decision on a belief that the measure "would undermine rights and protections for women".

The lawsuit follows reports of increased pro-life protests and advocacy outside of abortion clinics across the country, The AP noted.

Lawmakers adopted several abortion restrictions in 2017, including a 20-week abortion ban and a requirement that women wait three days before ending a pregnancy.

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.

The ACLU of Iowa argues that if the court upholds the 72-hour wait period as well as the six-week ban, women will be placed in a unsafe position where they are forced to either carry an unwanted pregnancy to term, obtain an abortion in another state or self-induce an abortion. "In the 45 years since Roe, no federal or state court has upheld such a risky law".

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The law allows for some exceptions, including in the case of a "medical emergency" such as conditions that are life-threatening or pose "a serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function".

Governor Reynolds said in a statement when she signed the bill, "I believe that all innocent life is precious and sacred, and as governor, I pledged to do everything in my power to protect it".

Rita Bettis, ACLU of Iowa Legal Director, told reporters Tuesday that "this abortion ban is beyond extreme".

Shortly after the announcement of the lawsuit, Iowa's longtime attorney general said he would not defend the law.

Some supporters of the fetal heartbeat abortion law previously said they wanted it to provide the opportunity to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision.

"It's a law that has been passed by politicians who are out of touch with the reality of women's lives", Thompson said.

"We haven't heard much out of Iowa until the past couple of years", said state policy analyst Elizabeth Nash of the Guttmacher Institute, a national research group that supports abortion rights and tracks abortion legislation.

Iowa is now in court defending a 2017 abortion law that imposes a 72-hour mandatory waiting period and an additional trip requirement for women seeking an abortion.

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