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Iowa governor asks court to allow blocked 2018 abortion ban

The Associated Press
The Associated Press
 2022-08-11
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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds asked the state courts on Thursday to allow her to implement a law banning most abortions that a judge permanently blocked in 2019.

Reynolds previously said she would turn to the courts instead of calling a special session to hold a divisive abortion debate and vote just months before she and several other Republican leaders run for reelection. The court filing is just the first step in a legal battle that could take months to resolve and end up before the Iowa Supreme Court again.

The 2018 law bans abortions once cardiac activity can be detected, usually around six weeks of pregnancy and before many women know they are pregnant. An Iowa law banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy remains in effect while Reynolds pursues the tougher ban in court.

Reynolds’ lawyers argue that since the U.S. Supreme Court and the Iowa Supreme Court have now removed broad constitutional protections for abortion rights, the previous order should be removed and the law enforced.

“The historic U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe has given us a new hope and pathway forward to challenge the Iowa court’s previous decision,” Reynolds said in a statement. “Life and death are determined by a person’s heartbeat, and I believe that includes our unborn children.”

Laws such as Iowa’s ban abortion when a “fetal heartbeat” can be detected, though that does not easily translate to medical science. That’s because at the point where advanced technology can detect that first visual flutter, the embryo isn’t yet a fetus, and it doesn’t have a heart. An embryo is termed a fetus eight weeks after fertilization.

Iowa’s law contains exceptions for medical emergencies including threats to the mother’s life, rape, incest, and fetal abnormality.

Iowa House Democratic Leader Jennifer Konfrst said Reynolds is circumventing the will of the people in a state where polls have shown most people support abortion rights. A poll published last month by the Des Moines Register indicated 60% of Iowa residents believe abortion should be legal in most or all cases.

“This is the opposite of what Iowans are telling us they want,” Konfrst said. “This is way extreme. We’ve seen voters across the country reject this and because the governor knows voters would reject this here in Iowa, she’s playing politics.”

Iowa’s high court in June overturned a previous ruling that guaranteed the right to abortion under the state constitution, acting just one week before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

Reynolds’ lawyers said the state Supreme Court “can and should dissolve the injunction permanently right now because no additional factual development is needed to establish that there has been a ‘substantial change’ in the law.”

Comments / 104

Michelle Bobier-Groves
08-12

Vote out any politician who wants to strip you of the fundamental, civil and human right to choose what to do with your body. I'm pro-life and pro-choice. I wouldn't have an abortion, but I have no right to tell anyone else that they should be forced to carry a pregnancy to full-term and neither do these Governors!

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Andy Erbz
08-12

let the people from your state be heard and spoken let them vote on it wasn't that the entire purpose of the decision to bring it back to the states to have not the states legislation or courts in the state

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Politically Heard
08-12

I see it this way. Abortions are the choice of the women and the male who got her pregnant if he's still around. Then it should be between them or her and the doctor. If someone else (other than the 2 parties) didn't create the baby nor will support the baby financially, then you have no right to intervene in someone else's life choices. If these Republicans want to "force" women and children to have children, then they better come up with an incentive plan to help them support that child. Children are not cheap. Leave women's rights alone. In my opinion, 20 weeks to me is long, but if that's what it is in that State, let it be; 6-8 weeks is too short.

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