Judge Puts Iowa ‘Heartbeat’ Abortion Law on Hold

A pregnant Albanian woman lies on a bed while doctor looks at the foetus on a monitor as he carries out a sonogram on April 20, 2015 in Tirana. Selective abortions remain a common practise in Albania and several Balkan countries, where an imbalance between boys and girls at birth …
GENT SHKULLAKU/AFP/Getty

A county judge has temporarily placed a hold on Iowa’s historic “heartbeat” law that bans abortion from the time a fetal heartbeat can be detected.

Polk County District Court Judge Michael Huppert granted a temporary injunction Friday after a hearing that lasted only several minutes, reports the Des Moines Register. Lawyers for the state agreed to a temporary halt of the law – which is slated to go into effect July 1 – as litigation continues through the courts.

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and the Emma Goldman abortion clinic – both represented by the Iowa chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) – filed a legal challenge to the law that received Gov. Kim Reynolds’ signature on May 4.

The Thomas More Society is representing the state because Iowa’s Attorney General Tom Miller, a Democrat, refused to defend the new state law.

The law requires physicians to perform an ultrasound test on any woman seeking an abortion and bans abortion if the test detects a fetal heartbeat.

Upon signing the legislation, Reynolds said she anticipated that lawsuits would be filed to stop the law from going into effect.

“I understand and anticipate that this will likely be challenged in court, and that courts may even put a hold on the law until it reaches the Supreme Court,” she said. “However, this is bigger than just a law. This is about life. I am not going to back down from who I am or what I believe in.”

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