Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have filed a joint lawsuit that seeks to challenge Iowa’s new law that bans abortion from the time a fetal heartbeat can be detected, usually six weeks.
Rita Bettis, ACLU of Iowa legal director referred to the law as “dangerous.”
“This abortion ban is beyond extreme,” she said, reports the Sioux City Journal. “In the 45 years since (Roe v. Wade), no federal or state court has upheld such a dangerous law.”
— ACLU of Iowa (@ACLUiowa) May 15, 2018
The 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade created a right to abortion – though none ever existed in the Constitution.
Bettis said she and the attorneys for Planned Parenthood will seek a temporary injunction and an expedited hearing at which they will argue the new law, slated to take effect July 1, violates equal protection clauses and a woman’s right to safe and legal abortion.
“The complaint presents the medical facts that this law will make safe and legal abortion virtually disappear in Iowa,” added Alice Clapman, an attorney representing Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
However, since the case of abortionist and convicted murderer Kermit Gosnell, whose “house of horrors” drew attention to the potential for a lack of safety and sanitary conditions in many abortion clinics, pro-abortion groups’ defense of a woman’s right to “safe and legal abortion” has received considerable scrutiny.
In a special report titled: “Unsafe: The Public Health Crisis in America’s Abortion Clinics Endangers Women,” Americans United for Life (AUL) provided details of hundreds of violations of state laws regulating abortion clinics — violations that impact the health and safety of women seeking abortions.
Iowa Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds said she anticipated the lawsuits when she signed Senate file 359.
“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.”
“The lawsuit was expected, and the growing pro-life movement isn’t deterred by it,” Drew Zahn, director of communications for the Family Leader organization, also said, according to the Journal. “In fact, we welcome the courts hearing the debate on the question of when life begins. It’s long overdue that America looked at the evidence and recognized that the little child in her mother’s womb … she’s a baby.”
Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, a Democrat, said he would refuse to represent his state in defense of the new law. Reynolds will be represented by the Thomas More Society at no cost to Iowa taxpayers.
.@AGIowa Tom Miller refuses to defend @KimReynoldsIA's 6-week abortion ban because of "his core belief that the statute, if upheld, would undermine rights and protections for women." Thank you for standing up & speaking out. https://t.co/h0XDIhgwtb
— Planned Parenthood Action (@PPact) May 16, 2018
In a statement sent to Breitbart News, Martin Cannon, Thomas More Society Special Counsel, said his organization is “honored to be called upon to defend life.”
“Attorney General Tom Miller’s decision to disqualify himself is based on his determination that he could not defend the Iowa fetal heartbeat law because of his personal beliefs,” Cannon said, adding the Thomas More Society’s “mission is to protect women and babies from the devastating consequences of abortion.”
“We feel very confident moving forward with it,” said Reynolds, “and so it’s important that, first of all, this is about life, it’s about protecting life and that’s first and foremost the priority, and we have somebody that has agreed to represent us and do it at no cost to the taxpayers.”