Iowa AG won't defend state's new abortion law

Former Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards was Saturday’s keynote speaker for The Sage Colleges commencement

The nation's strictest abortion law is now facing a legal challenge.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America announced the filing of the complaint in Polk County District Court in Des Moines.

Tuesday, Republican Reynolds said the Thomas More Society, a faith-based legal organization based in Chicago, would represent her and the Iowa Board of Medicine as defendants at no cost to Iowa taxpayers.

"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.

"Enough is enough. Gov. Kim Reynolds has no right to impose her beliefs on Iowa women".

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Iowa's attorney general Tom Miller indicated that he would not defend the law because it "would undermine rights and protections for women", The AP reported.

Planned Parenthood and the ACLU said they hope to avoid that possibility by only challenging the law under the Iowa Constitution.

Bettis said at a press conference Tuesday that the plaintiffs challenged the new law as violating the Iowa Constitution, and said it was appropriate to bring the case in state court because the "Iowa Supreme Court has been a stalwart protector of constitutional rights".

"In the 45 years since Roe, no federal or state court has upheld such a unsafe law", Rita Bettis, ACLU of Iowa legal director, said in a statement. "Abortion care must remain safe and legal as an important part of basic reproductive health care".

"Today we will begin this journey as Iowa becomes ground zero nationally for the life movement and the starting line back to the Supreme Court", said Sen.

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It bans abortions after a heart beat is detected from an ultrasound, which typically occurs around six weeks into a pregnancy.

Critics of the bill argued it was poorly written with vague language creating uncertainty for doctors making medical decisions in the best interests of their patients, and would not pass constitutional muster.

Lawmakers adopted several abortion restrictions in 2017, including a 20-week abortion ban and a requirement that women wait three days before ending a pregnancy.

A 2017 Iowa law that requires a minimum 72-hour waiting period before obtaining an abortion is now blocked while the Iowa Supreme Court decides whether to strike it down. "I am not going to back down from who I am or what I believe in".

Iowa is now in court defending a 2017 abortion law that imposes a 72-hour mandatory waiting period and an additional trip requirement for women seeking an abortion.

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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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