Iowa Gov. Reynolds says state will not appeal ruling on fetal heartbeat law

Iowa News
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The state of Iowa will not appeal Iowa’s fetal heartbeat law that was struck down in court last month, according to Governor Kim Reynolds. 

The law would have prohibited most abortions once cardiac activity is detected, typically around six weeks of pregnancy. Iowa District Court Judge Michael Huppert had ruled earlier that the law violates the Iowa Constitution. 

On Monday, Gov. Reynolds said it was an extremely difficult decision to make but that she saw “no path to successfully appeal the district court’s decision or to get this lawsuit before the U.S. Supreme Court.”

In a statement, Reynolds said in part that, “We knew that it would be an uphill fight in the courts… But everything changed last June, when the Iowa Supreme Court struck down our 72-hour waiting period after concluding that the Iowa Constitution provides a right to an abortion and imposes strict scrutiny on all our abortion laws.”

Planned Parenthood of the Hearland  and the ACLU also issued statements.
Planned Parenthood State Executive Director of Iowa Erin Davison-Rippey celebrated the news, saying in part, “The fact that this ruling will go without further legal challenge is a victory for every Iowan who has ever needed or will need a safe, legal abortion. It is also a reminder that our fundamental Constitutional rights must be protected, and our judicial nominating process must remain intact, free from intrusion by partisan politicians.” 

An appeal in the courts is still possible.

Read the full statements from Reynolds, Planned Parenthood, and the ACLU below. 

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds:

This was an extremely difficult decision, however it is the right one for the pro-life movement and the state of Iowa. When I signed the Fetal Heartbeat bill last May, we knew that it would be an uphill fight in the courts that might take us all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

But everything changed last June, when the Iowa Supreme Court struck down our 72-hour waiting period after concluding that the Iowa Constitution provides a right to an abortion and imposes strict scrutiny on all our abortion laws. I think the Iowa Supreme Court got it wrong. But after this decision and because of Planned Parenthood’s legal maneuverings, I see no path to successfully appeal the district court’s decision or to get this lawsuit before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Rather than be distracted by a losing legal battle, now is the time to renew our focus on changing hearts and minds and to seek other ways to advance the cause of protecting the unborn in Iowa and around the nation. I’m proud to lead the most pro-life state in the country and remain firm in my belief that all human life is precious.

Planned Parenthood State Executive Director of Iowa Erin Davison-Rippey:

We are grateful the Court blocked Gov. Reynolds’ egregious attempt to ban safe, legal abortion in Iowa. Judge Huppert’s ruling follows in the footsteps of the Iowa Supreme Court decision on abortion in 2018 that recognized the fundamental right to a safe and legal abortion for Iowans, which cannot be legislated away. The fact that this ruling will go without further legal challenge is a victory for every Iowan who has ever needed or will need a safe, legal abortion. It is also a reminder that our fundamental Constitutional rights must be protected, and our judicial nominating process must remain intact, free from intrusion by partisan politicians. Checks and balances live at the core of our democracy, and personal beliefs have no place in the state Constitution. At Planned Parenthood, we’re here to provide nonjudgmental support and factual, medically accurate information so that every patient can make their own personal decision about a pregnancy based on their own values, desires and needs, without political interference. This is why Planned Parenthood will continue to fight for not only reproductive and sexual health, but also our democratic process itself.

ACLU of Iowa Executive Director Mark Stringer:

We’re glad that politicians are recognizing what we have known all along—that the Iowa Constitution has strong protections for women’s rights, including abortion access, and that attempts to seriously erode those rights will be struck down. We’re proud of a Constitution that affirms a women’s fundamental right, in consultation with her doctor and loved ones, to make one of the most difficult, personal decisions she’ll ever make. Government has no place in that.

Moving forward, we’ll continue to fight efforts to amend the Iowa Constitution to ban abortion. Some people want to drag us back to a time when women died out of desperation to control their lives and their bodies. We won’t go back, and we’re glad that politicians have not been successful in implementing what would have been the most extreme ban on abortions in the country, especially considering the fact that a 6-week abortion ban law did not have the support of the majority of Iowans.

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