Pro-choice groups challenge Iowa's strict abortion ban

Pro-choice groups challenge Iowa's strict abortion ban

Republicans want any legal challenge to reach the U.S. Supreme Court in hopes of overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.

The state's largest pro-life group, Iowa Right to Life, has called the bill's passage a major step forward in achieving legal protection for unborn children.

The lawsuit was filed in Polk County District Court by attorneys with the ACLU of Iowa and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America on behalf of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, Dr. Jill Meadows and the Emma Goldman Clinic of Iowa City.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said she was "confident" facing the lawsuit and the state would defend the law at no cost to taxpayers.

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland President and CEO Suzanna de Baca said Tuesday if the law takes effect July 1, it will have a "devastating effect" on women seeking abortions.

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The statute says it "shall not be construed to impose civil or criminal liability" on a woman receiving an abortion in violation of the law, but is silent on liability for physicians who perform abortion other than to say the Iowa Board of Medicine "shall adopt rules" to administer the statute.

"We haven't heard much out of Iowa until the past couple of years", said state policy analyst Elizabeth Nash of the Guttmacher Institute, a national research group that supports abortion rights and tracks abortion legislation. It argues the new law violates the Iowa Constitution.

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller says he will not defend the state's six-week abortion ban, considered the most restrictive in the nation, claiming the new law is unconstitutional. "With it, Iowa politicians have tried to ban virtually all abortions for women in our state".

Iowa Republicans past year also gave up millions in federal dollars to create a state-funded family planning program that prohibits participation from abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood.

There are some exceptions in the law. The law does not allow a woman to access an abortion due to "psychological conditions, emotional conditions, familial conditions, or the woman's age". The Emma Goldman Clinic of Iowa City, an abortion provider, is also a co-plaintiff in the case. That typically happens around the six-week mark, often before the woman knows she is pregnant. "The timing essentially makes it an almost-complete ban on abortions in our state", Thompson said in a written statement. "The requirement of reporting rape within 45 days, for example, is completely out of touch with the reality that survivors of those horrendous crimes live with", she said.

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