Planned Parenthood, ACLU Sue Iowa Governor Over Fetal Heartbeat Abortion Law

This year’s graduating class of 2018 from The Sage Colleges featured students from 29 states and more than a half dozen countries

Two pro-abortion groups filed a lawsuit Tuesday over Iowa's new law banning abortion after six weeks, alleging the law is cruel and reckless.

A lawsuit filed Tuesday by Planned Parenthood and the ACLU of Iowa seeks to block Iowa's recently-passed "heartbeat" abortion law, one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country. It prohibits a physician from performing an abortion "when it has been determined that the unborn child has a detectable fetal heartbeat", which happens at about six weeks. The new legislation also bans the sale of all fetal tissue in the state. Democrat Tom Miller said the decision to remove his office from the case was based on a belief that the measure "would undermine rights and protections for women".

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. Abortion-rights groups say that's a time when many women do not know they are pregnant.

The lawsuit also names the Iowa Board of Medicine as a defendant.

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".

"We feel very confident moving forward with it", said Reynolds, who talked to reporters in Davenport after a Quad-Cities Chamber of Commerce luncheon, "and so it's important that, first of all, this is about life, it's about protecting life and that's first and foremost the priority, and we have somebody that has agreed to represent us and do it at no cost to the taxpayers". "With it, Iowa politicians have tried to ban virtually all abortions for women in our state".

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Senate File 359 has been called the strictest abortion law in the nation.

"This abortion ban is beyond extreme", Rita Bettis, Legal Director for the ACLU of Iowa said in a statement announcing the lawsuit.

Iowa Republicans previous year also gave up millions in federal dollars to create a state-funded family planning program that prohibits participation from abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood.

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

Francine Thompson, co-director of the Emma Goldman Clinic in Iowa City, said the law would have a devastating impact on the women her clinic sees every day. Despite the legal challenges, she said, "This is about life; I am not going to back down from who I am or what I believe in".

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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