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Iowa Supreme Court hears state argue injunction blocking fetal heartbeat law should be removed

by | Apr 11, 2024

Iowa Supreme Court
Photo: Ctjf83
(CC BY-SA 3.0)

By Dave Andrusko

This afternoon, Iowa’s Supreme Court heard arguments over whether the state’s Fetal Heartbeat Law should be allowed to be enforced while a larger legal battle over the law works its way through the courts. The law protects unborn children from abortion after the fetal heartbeat can be detected, approximately after six weeks of gestation.

In July, after being in effect for a just little over two days, Polk County District Judge Joseph Seidlin agreed with Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, the Emma Goldman Clinic, and the ACLU of Iowa and issued a temporary injunction.

Because of Judge Seidlin’s ruling, abortion continues to be legal up until to 20 weeks of pregnancy.

“The people of Iowa and their elected representatives have spoken clearly and by a wider margin than before: it’s time for the Fetal Heartbeat Law to be upheld once and for all,” Gov. Reynolds said at the time. “The injunction placed on Iowa’s Fetal Heartbeat Law has already led to the innocent deaths of children. It needs to end. Every life is valuable and worth our state’s protection – no matter what stage of life they are in.”

In a statement, Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird said, “We know that every moment counts when it comes to protecting the unborn and are working diligently to ensure the Heartbeat Law is upheld.” She added, “I’m confident that the law is on our side, and we will continue fighting to defend the right to life in court.”

Michaela Ramm, writing for the Des Moines Register, explained that

On Monday, the Iowa Legislature’s administrative rules review committee allowed the framework for Iowa’s abortion law, which bans the procedure when cardiac activity can be detected in the embryo, to move forward unchanged.

 

These administrative rules were crafted and approved by the Iowa Board of Medicine earlier this year and serve as guidelines for how doctors can comply with the so-called “fetal heartbeat” law’s narrow exceptions.

 

The legislative rules committee was the final hurdle for the Board of Medicine’s rules. With lawmakers’ approval this week, the rules will go into effect April 24.

 

However, enforcement of the abortion ban’s administrative rules ultimately will depend on the Supreme Court’s decision later this year.

Leif Olson, chief deputy attorney general for the Iowa Attorney General’s Office, told lawmakers Monday, “The rules will take effect on April 24, but the state and the Board of Medicine will not be allowed to conduct any proceedings under the law or under the rules until the injunction from the trial court is reversed.”

Categories: State Legislation