Wednesday, 21 November, 2018

Planned Parenthood and ACLU announce suit against Iowa abortion law

Planned Parenthood and ACLU announce suit against Iowa abortion law Planned Parenthood and ACLU announce suit against Iowa abortion law
Nellie Chapman | 16 May, 2018, 09:01

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa say the law is unconstitutional.

She added: "I understand and anticipate that this will likely be challenged in court, and that courts may even put a hold on the law until it reaches the Supreme Court".

If the ban takes effect, Iowa women would have to travel out of state to obtain an abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected. Earlier versions had called for felony charges against doctors, but not women seeking an abortion. She said the state's legal costs would be covered by the Thomas More Society, an anti-abortion law firm.

Pro-choice advocates filed a lawsuit Monday to stop Iowa's new law banning abortions after roughly six weeks.

The groups warned shortly before Iowa Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the law on May 4 that they would challenge its constitutionality.

There are some exceptions in the law.

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller says he won't defend the state's new abortion ban.

What backers of the fetal-heartbeat law may not have counted on was the move by plaintiffs to bring the action in state court rather than federal court, meaning the challenge to the law won't end up before the U.S. Supreme Court because the suit citing the state constitution can not be removed to federal court, according Rita Bettis, legal director for the ACLU of Iowa.

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and the Emma Goldman Clinic in Iowa City are co-plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

Republicans in the Iowa legislature, who passed the abortion bill on a series of party-line votes, understood it would be challenged in court, and welcomed any challenge as a way of advancing policies at a national level. Cases of rape must be reported to a law enforcement agency, a public or private health agency, or family physician within 45 days. The battle over this law could eventually make its way to the high court as well. Doctors who violate this exception would lose their licenses. The law does not allow a woman to access an abortion due to "psychological conditions, emotional conditions, familial conditions, or the woman's age".

"We think it's extreme and outrageous", said Francine Thompson, co-director of the Emma Goldman Clinic in Iowa City, the first outpatient abortion clinic in the state.

"The cutoff period of this bill at around six weeks simply does not work for women. The requirement of reporting rape within 45 days, for example, is completely out of touch with the reality that survivors of those horrendous crimes live with".