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The groups said they will focus on fighting Gov. Kim Reynolds’ request for the courts to reinstate the so-called “fetal heartbeat” law
Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union are dropping their legal challenge of Iowa’s 24-hour waiting period on abortions, which the state Supreme Court allowed to go into effect in June, the groups announced Friday.
Instead of pursuing the litigation, tca 2018 law struck down by a district court that would ban abortions after six weeks.
“Politicians never should have passed this law, but we have made the decision to instead focus our efforts on fighting the governor's suggested reimposing of a six-week abortion ban,” ACLU of Iowa spokesperson Veronica Fowler said.
Abortion still is legal in Iowa up to 20 weeks, but the 24-hour waiting period took effect in July, requiring people to get two separate appointments within 24 hours in order to get an abortion.
The groups also said they will focus attention on fighting a proposed constitutional amendment that would establish that the state constitution does not protect the right to an abortion.
The Iowa Legislature passed the proposal in 2021. If the Legislature passes it in 2023 or 2024, it will show up on a future ballot and be subject to a popular vote.
The 24-hour waiting period was first blocked by a district court, but in June the Iowa Supreme Court allowed it to go into effect, overturning a 2018 decision that established a fundamental right to an abortion in the state.
The decision weakened abortion protections in the state’s constitution, but it left in place the “undue burden” standard that had been in place under federal law, noting there was potential for that standard to be litigated further.
Just a week later, on June 28, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 court case that established a federal right to an abortion, causing abortion bans to go into effect in several states.
Shortly after, Reynolds said she would ask a district court to lift the injunction on the six-week abortion ban and let it go into effect. She also asked the Supreme Court to revisit its decision in the 24-hour waiting period. The Supreme Court denied hearing the second request, sending it back to a district court.
“We’ve got two laws in place, and so we’re going to move forward with that and wait and see what the ruling is based on that, and then we’ll reassess after that point,” Reynolds said after announcing the legal action.
Fowler called the six-week ban almost a complete ban on abortion, because most women don’t know they’re pregnant by six weeks.
“We know that most Iowans support safe and legal abortion and value their reproductive freedom,” said Planned Parenthood North Central States Iowa Public Affairs Director Mazie Stilwell. “We will never stop fighting to preserve our rights and take politicians out of our health care choices.”
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