Court puts hold on new abortion restrictions

Manuel-F-O  Getty
Manuel-F-O Getty
Author

06 May, 2017

"This ruling means that dozens of women today are able to access the care they need", Suzanna de Baca, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland's CEO, said in a statement.

In his order, Justice David Wiggins denied a request to enjoin the governor from signing the bill, but granted a temporary injunction staying enforcement of the three-day waiting period under the full court could consider the matter.

In Tennessee, a bill similar to the Iowa measure was sent to the desk of that state's Republican governor on Wednesday to possibly be signed into law.

"We have made some real progress this year by getting legislation passed that institutes the first 20-week abortion ban, and also establishes a three-day waiting period for women who seek an abortion", Ben Hammes, a spokesman for Branstad, a Republican, said on Friday.

Planned Parenthood and ACLU of Iowa are applauding the Iowa Supreme Court's decision to temporarily halt a 72-hour abortion waiting period soon after Gov. Terry Branstad enacted several restrictions.

An Iowa law requiring that women wait 72 hours before having an abortion is scheduled to take effect Friday after a judge refused abortion activists' request to block it.

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He said the measure, Senate File 471, would protect the unborn by banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and empower women to make informed decisions by requiring ultrasounds of an unborn child and a 72-hour waiting period for abortions at any stage of pregnancy.

However, under previous Iowa law and Planned Parenthood practices, ultrasounds and necessary information are provided to women just prior to an abortion, Meadows says.

On Thursday, Gov. Branstad praised state lawmakers for passing the law. The justices have given attorneys until noon on Monday to present legal briefs on the matter.

The abortion bill that Branstad said he'll sign was pushed through the Legislature over the opposition of most Democrats. Additionally, he said numerous barriers cited by the challengers were self-imposed by Planned Parenthood's business decisions, rather than created by the new law.

Iowa Solicitor General Jeffrey Thompson argued on behalf of the state that "there is not a constitutional right to an abortion on demand". The group appealed, and the Iowa Supreme Court's ruling followed.


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