Attorneys representing Governor Kim Reynolds have taken the formal step of asking a district court to let a state law take effect that would ban most abortions in Iowa.
Attorneys with the Alliance Defending Freedom and Iowa attorney Alan Ostergren filed a motion, asking the court to lift its injunction against a law that bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. That’s generally around the sixth week of a pregnancy.
In a written statement, Governor Reynolds indicated recent rulings from the U.S. and Iowa Supreme Courts provide a pathway to challenge the injunction and have the law take effect. Reynolds said “life and death are determined by a person’s heartbeat” and Reynolds said: “I believe that includes our unborn children.”
When Reynolds signed the so-called “fetal heartbeat” law four years ago, it was the toughest abortion law in the country. This is what Reynolds said about the law in 2018.
“I believe that all innocent life is precious and sacred and, as governor, I have pledged to do everything in my power to protect it,” Reynolds said to a crowd watching the bill signing.
Reynolds spoke briefly with reporters shortly after she signed the law in May of 2018.
“I’ve seen a lot of positive encouragement and prayers to support life and not to stop a beating heart,” Reynolds said. “This is about life and I believe life is life, whether it’s inside the womb or outside the womb.”
The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa and Planned Parenthood of the Heartland immediately filed the lawsuit that has kept the law on hold for the past four years. Suzanna de Baca was president of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland in 2018 and she spoke at a rally outside the Capitol just before Reynolds signed the fetal heartbeat bill into law.
“It’s on all of us to push back against these attacks on our lives, our body, our care and on our rights,” de Baca said at the 2018 rally.
This past June, the Iowa Supreme Court issued a ruling that has let a 24-hour waiting period for abortions go into effect. Reynolds said that ruling has set a new standard for reviewing abortion-related cases and should lead the district court to let the six-week abortion ban take effort.
Iowa House Democratic Leader Jennifer Konfrst issued a written statement late this morning. “Iowans are exhausted and fed up with politicians interfering in deeply personal decisions,” Konfrst said. “Governor Reynolds and GOP lawmakers will not stop until there is a complete abortion ban in Iowa.”