Iowa Supreme Court Upholds 6-Week Abortion Ban

Iowa Supreme Court

On Friday, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled in favor of the state’s heartbeat law and ordered a lower court to dissolve its temporary injunction against the ban.

The Gateway Pundit reported that in 2023, Iowa Republicans passed legislation that bans most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.

The bill, which bans abortions after a baby’s heartbeat can be detected, was passed just after 11 p.m. during a special session.

Under the bill, exceptions can be made to save the mother’s life, miscarriages, and fetal abnormalities that a doctor determines are “incompatible with life.”

There are also exceptions for cases of rape and incest, provided that the rape was reported to law enforcement or a physician within 45 days — or 140 days in the case of incest.

The bill was signed by Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds.

Lifesite reports:

Iowa already had such a law on the books since 2018, but the state’s highest court had deadlocked on its legality, with a 3-3 vote that resulted in it continuing to be blocked from enforcement. Three argued that the law should be allowed to take effect in light of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade the year before, and three held that, as Justice Thomas Waterman claimed, it would “bypass the legislature” to let an act of the legislature take effect and that “legislative reenactment” should be required to “assur[e] that a current legislative majority supports the statutory restriction on liberty.”

In response, Reynolds filed an appeal of the ruling and called a special legislative session to pass the heartbeat ban again, giving the court a “clear answer” as to the will of the legislature and declaring that the “voices of Iowans and their democratically elected representatives cannot be ignored any longer, and justice for the unborn should not be delayed.”

The Des Moines Register reports Justice Matthew McDermott wrote for the narrow 4-3 majority that abortion restrictions are now constitutional as long as the state shows a “rational basis” for them and that in light of this new standard, challengers “cannot show a likelihood of success on the merits.”

“We thus hold that Planned Parenthood is not entitled to a temporary injunction blocking enforcement of the fetal heartbeat statute,” the court ruled. “We reverse the order granting the temporary injunction and remand the case for the district court to dissolve the temporary injunction and continue with further proceedings.”

Governor Reynolds reacted to the ruling saying, “There is no right more sacred than life, and nothing more worthy of our strongest defense than the innocent unborn.”

“Iowa voters have spoken clearly through their elected representatives, both in 2018 when the original heartbeat bill was passed and signed into law, and again in 2023 when it passed by an even larger margin. I’m glad that the Iowa Supreme Court has upheld the will of the people of Iowa.”

“As the heartbeat bill finally becomes law, we are deeply committed to supporting women in planning for motherhood, and promoting fatherhood and its importance in parenting.”


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