Governor Terry Branstad is calling this a “banner day” as he signed three significant bills into law this morning.
The first new law has immediately established a ban on abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy. It also sets up a three-day waiting period for all abortions, requiring two separate appointments. During that first appointment, a woman must be counseled about other options, like adoption, and given a chance to see an ultrasound.
AUDIO of bill signing ceremony
“Protecting an unborn child and empowering women with more information before seeking an abortion,” Branstad said.
These new requirements became state law just after midnight this morning, since the bill called for immediate implementation on the day Branstad signed the legislation. Branstad called the new law “historic.”
“I’ve been fighting for the unborn since I ran for the legislature in 1972 and I have not stopped,” Branstad said during the formal bill signing ceremony, “and I am really pleased with this General Assembly and the progress that was made.”
Bob Vander Plaats is CEO of The Family Leader, one of the organizations that’s lobbying for an outright ban on all abortions and he was in the governor’s office for the event.
“We see the 20-week ban, the three-day wait, the ultrasound provision as being extremely positive steps in the right direction,” Vander Plaats said. “That’s why we’re here to celebrate…but our goal is the gold standard which is ‘life at conception’ and to protect life at all costs.”
Vander Plaats indicated a coalition of groups will ask next year’s legislature to take that final step.
Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa have appealed to the Iowa Supreme Court, to try to overturn the required three-day waiting period. A district court judge ruled waiting 72 hours is not an undue burden and refused yesterday to issue an emergency order blocking that part of the law from going into effect. Branstad told reporters he was “encouraged” the district court ruling was made so quickly.
“It’s pretty unusual that somebody would bring a legal challenge before a bill is even signed, but I think the district court judge did the right thing,” Branstad said. “I believe that the law, which is similar to ones that have been approved in other states, hopefully will be upheld by the courts.”
Branstad also signed a bill that will require voters to show an I-D at the polls, starting with party primaries in June of next year. The third major piece of legislation Branstad approved today sets new limits on medical malpractice lawsuits. Check back for details on those new laws.