A state judge struck down an Iowa law that banned all abortions from the time a fetal heartbeat could be detected – at about six weeks of pregnancy.
Polk County District Court Judge Michael Huppert said the law was unconstitutional and would not be compliant with the Iowa Supreme Court’s earlier decisions that affirm a woman’s right to abortion.
In his opinion released Tuesday, Huppert wrote the heartbeat law’s “narrow amount of time afforded [to] women” to have an abortion was not consistent with a “fundamental right,” as the state Supreme Court had ruled.
“I am incredibly disappointed in today’s court ruling, because I believe that if death is determined when a heart stops beating, then a beating heart indicates life,” Gov. Kim Reynolds (R-IA) said in a statement, according to Courthouse News Service.
Reynolds signed the bill into law in May.
Planned Parenthood of the Heartland – the organization’s Iowa affiliate – celebrated the ruling:
BREAKING: Today, on the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, a Polk County District judge ruled to protect access to safe and legal abortion in Iowa by striking down the unconstitutional 6-week abortion ban. #WeWontGoBack #Roe46 https://t.co/owHxLXdyhI
— Planned Parenthood (@PPHeartland) January 22, 2019
“Today’s ruling is a victory for every Iowan who has ever needed or will need a safe, legal abortion,” said Planned Parenthood of the Heartland Medical Director Dr. Jill Meadows. “We are pleased that especially today, on the 46th anniversary of the landmark decision Roe v. Wade, abortion care was upheld as a safe and legal part of basic reproductive health care.”
The Iowa heartbeat law became the most restrictive abortion law in the nation. It required physicians to perform an ultrasound test for a fetal heartbeat on any woman seeking an abortion, and barred abortion if a heartbeat was detected.
The Iowa Supreme Court also struck down a law in June that required a 72-hour waiting period for women seeking an abortion.
In a statement sent to Breitbart News, Martin Cannon, senior counsel with the Thomas More Society – which represented the state – said, “Despite the challenges in the Iowa judicial system, our clients and Thomas More Society attorneys will continue to defend unborn children and those who also defend them.”
“We know that life begins at conception and a heartbeat means a living person is inside the mother’s womb,” he added.
The case is Planned Parenthood of the Heartland v. Kim Reynolds, ex rel. State of Iowa, No. EQCE 83074 in Iowa District Court for Polk County.