Gov. Kim Reynolds of Iowa, a Republican, signed into law a tough abortion ban on Friday, even as a judge has heard arguments to suspend it.
Ms. Reynolds had promised to sign the bill passed by lawmakers this week. It was immediately challenged in Polk County court by the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood, and on Friday those groups were in court seeking to temporarily block the law while their legal case progressed.
The new law bans most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, before most women know they are pregnant. Goes into effect immediately and dramatically changes abortion access in the state.
“As we gather here today – and right now – the abortion industry is in court trying to stop this law from taking effect and stop the will of the people once again,” Ms. Reynolds said at the signing.
Pam Jochum, the Iowa Senate Democratic leader, on Friday called the law a « dangerous attack on Iowa women » and said she looked forward to « the Iowa courts blocking this law. »
The change now adds Iowa to a list of Republican-led states that have moved to ban or severely limit the procedure since the Supreme Court struck down the nation’s right to abortion last year, sending the matter back to the states to settle. politics.
The ban also shuts down another area of access for women in the region, as neighboring states, including Wisconsin, North Dakota and South Dakota, also have abortion bans.
More than a dozen states now have bans that prohibit most abortions after conception or in early pregnancy.
After the state’s previous six-week ban was stalled when a deadlocked Iowa Supreme Court struck it unenforceable, Governor Reynolds called a special session on abortion.
Lawmakers returned to the State Capitol and passed an almost identical set of restrictions on procedure. Iowa Vendors and Abortion Rights Advocates filed suit Wednesday within hours of the passage of the legislature, stating that it was unconstitutional by the standard of « undue burden ».
The session further cemented Iowa’s sharp political shift to the right and ended its increasingly rare status as a Republican-led state in which abortions are permitted up to 20 weeks after fertilization, or about 22 weeks after pregnancy. .
The legislation assumes that you are about six weeks pregnant. The legislation includes exceptions after that point in cases of rape or incest, when the woman’s life is in grave danger or at risk of some permanent injury, or when fetal abnormalities « incompatible with life » are present.
If abortion rights activists prevail in court, the law could be at least temporarily suspended while the legal case progresses.
Polk County District Court Judge Joseph Seidlin said he would not rule on Friday, even as abortion-rights groups said the law would lead to immediate damage.
Mr Seidlin said the decision required « strong and long-term attention » and that making an immediate decision from the bench would be perceived as flippant.
« I can’t think of anything that would be more offensive to both sides, » he said.