Government

Reynolds: Abortion ruling signals hurdles for 'heartbeat' law

Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks at a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of a home that is being built for Reach for Your Potential clients in Iowa City on Thursday, June 28, 2018. The organization provides housing for adults with disabilities. The house is being built by area students. (Rebecca Miller/The Gazette)
Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks at a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of a home that is being built for Reach for Your Potential clients in Iowa City on Thursday, June 28, 2018. The organization provides housing for adults with disabilities. The house is being built by area students. (Rebecca Miller/The Gazette)

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said Friday the state Supreme Court’s decision to overturn a 72-hour waiting period before a woman could get an abortion is likely “an indication” of the obstacles confronting the state’s new law restricting abortion when a fetal heartbeat is detected.

Reynolds, who was in Davenport to open a campaign office, said she was disappointed in the court’s 5-2 ruling that the 2017 provision requiring a three-day wait violated the due process and equal protection clauses of the state constitution.

“I don’t think 72 hours to really think about that or to maybe get some counseling or to talk about the options that are available is unreasonable, so I’m disappointed in it,” she said.

The law was signed by then-Gov. Terry Branstad. Reynolds was lieutenant governor.

Reynolds did sign the measure passed by the Iowa Legislature earlier this year that prohibits an abortion when a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can be about at six weeks of pregnancy.

The “heartbeat” law, which is one of the most restrictive in the nation, is being challenged by Planned Parenthood and the ACLU of Iowa. It was to have gone into effect Sunday, but a judge put it on hold while the case is being considered.

In an interview Friday, the governor said the waiting period decision is a sign of the hurdles proponents of the heartbeat measure face.

“You never know with the courts, but it probably is an indication of what we’re up against moving forward. You know, I think it probably is,” she said.

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The challenge to the heartbeat law, like the suit against the waiting period, alleges violations of the state constitution, not the U.S. Constitution or federal law. Legislative supporters have said they hoped to get the issue before the U.S. Supreme Court to try to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

Reynolds said she is disappointed in Friday’s decision, but she and the Republican-led Legislature will continue to push to restrict abortion.

“I’m pro-life. I’m proud to be pro-life. I just believe that we should never stop fighting on behalf of the unborn and that’s what we’re going to do,” the governor said.

Reynolds is running this fall against Democrat Fred Hubbell, a retired Des Moines businessman who also is a former chair of Planned Parenthood of Mid-Iowa.

He has criticized both abortion measures.

Hubbell got the endorsement Friday of NARAL Pro-Choice America, and he praised the state Supreme Court’s ruling.

“I think they made the right decision because they recognized that women and men deserve access to quality health care and that this was an unreasonable restriction,” he said.

Rod Boshart of The Gazette contributed to this report.

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