Abortion law is challenged in Iowa


Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa

Abortion-rights groups said Tuesday that they had filed a lawsuit challenging the nation’s most restrictive abortion law, an Iowa provision that bans most abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, around the sixth week of pregnancy.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America said they filed the lawsuit in Polk County District Court in Des Moines. It seeks an injunction that would put the law’s July 1 implementation on hold during the lawsuit. Litigation could take years.

“We’ve moved quickly to challenge this cruel and reckless law because it cannot be allowed to take effect,” Rita Bettis, legal director for the ACLU of Iowa, told a news conference.

Almost immediately, the state’s attorney general said he would not defend the law. Democrat Tom Miller said the decision to remove his office from the case was based on a belief that the measure “would undermine rights and protections for women.”

Miller said the Thomas More Society, a conservative Chicago-based law firm, has agreed to defend the law for free. The firm had no immediate comment.

The lawsuit names Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Board of Medicine as defendants, Bettis said.

Reynolds, who signed Iowa’s ban earlier this month, said she felt “very confident” in defending the suit, adding: “It’s about life. It’s about protecting life.”

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