Health

Anti-abortion group can't join Iowa's fetal heartbeat lawsuit, judge rules

Judge cites delays in denying Save the 1's motion

Martin Cannon, senior counsel for the Thomas More Society (left), talks with Ken Munro, a lawyer representing the state of Iowa Friday, June 1, 2018, before a hearing over Iowa’s ‘fetal heartbeat’ abortion law at the Polk County Courthouse in Des Moines. (Pool photo Michael Zamora/The Des Moines Register)
Martin Cannon, senior counsel for the Thomas More Society (left), talks with Ken Munro, a lawyer representing the state of Iowa Friday, June 1, 2018, before a hearing over Iowa’s ‘fetal heartbeat’ abortion law at the Polk County Courthouse in Des Moines. (Pool photo Michael Zamora/The Des Moines Register)

An anti-abortion group has been denied its motion to join a lawsuit challenging the state’s fetal heartbeat law.

District Court Judge Michael Huppert issued a ruling denying a motion filed this past month for Save the 1, a Michigan-based not-for-profit that advocates against abortion even in extreme cases, to intervene in the lawsuit on the state’s latest abortion restriction.

The lawsuit was filed against the state of Iowa by Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and Iowa City’s Emma Goldman Clinic. The law in question, passed by state lawmakers and signed by the governor this past session, bans abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can occur as early as six weeks of pregnancy.

The law is not in effect as litigations continue.

Save the 1, whose members are women who were conceived in rape, incest and sex trafficking or became pregnant under those circumstances, sought to be a part of the litigations to argue that the law’s exceptions for rape, incest and fetal abnormality “are violative of the equal protection and due process provisions” as well as the inalienable rights clause in the Iowa Constitution, according to the ruling.

Huppert stated in his ruling he found the organization’s motion to be “lacking,” since it’s not enough to become involved in pending litigations because a party is looking to ensure the law does not violate constitutional rights.

The inclusion of Save the 1 in the lawsuit would certainly delay litigations and prejudice the rights of existing parties, Huppert wrote in his ruling.

Although Save the 1 argued there was none, the judge agreed with the Thomas More Society — which is representing the state — that a conflict of did exist between the organizations. The Thomas More Society had previously represented Save the 1 in filing its nonprofit status.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

Save the 1 founder and President Rebecca Kiessling previously told The Gazette the group would file its own lawsuit to strike down those exceptions if its motion was denied.

l Comments: (319) 368-8536; michaela.ramm@thegazette.com

CONTINUE READING

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.