Iowa Wants to Ban Abortions After 6 Weeks. Planned Parenthood Just Filed a Lawsuit to Stop It.

Republicans are continuing their efforts to push an abortion case up to the Supreme Court.

Planned Parenthood supporters rally outside the Iowa Capitol Building, Friday, May 4, 2018.Barbara Rodriguez/AP

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.

A lawsuit filed Tuesday by Planned Parenthood and the ACLU of Iowa seeks to block Iowa’s recently-passed “heartbeat” abortion law, one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country. 

The law, set to go into effect July 1, bans abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, generally about six weeks into a pregnancy—before some women know they’re pregnant. The “heartbeat” bill passed the Iowa House and Senate earlier this month and was signed by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds soon after. 

In a statement, Planned Parenthood called the law “blatantly unconstitutional” and “extremely harmful to women.” The statement says that the lawsuit, filed in Iowa state court on behalf of plaintiffs Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, Dr. Jill Meadows, and The Emma Goldman Clinic of Iowa City, will invoke the authority of Roe v. Wade, which “guaranteed a woman’s constitutional right to access safe, legal abortion” 45 years ago. 

“Today, we’re fighting back in court for every person’s individual rights and freedoms, which go to the heart of who we are as a country,” said Planned Parenthood Vice President Dawn Laguens, in a statement Tuesday. “This dangerous law decimates a woman’s right to control her life at the most basic level, including whether and when to become a parent.”

On the day Reynolds signed the bill, she said she anticipated it would “likely be challenged in court, and that courts may even put a hold on the law until it reaches the Supreme Court.” Despite the legal challenges, she said, “This is about life; I am not going to back down from who I am or what I believe in.” Some Iowa Republicans have gone even further, saying they hoped the law would be challenged as a route toward a Supreme Court case that could overturn Roe v. Wade

“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. Rick Bertrand (R-Sioux City) during a floor debate over the “heartbeat” bill earlier this month. “I believe this bill will be the vehicle that will ultimately provide change and provide the opportunity to overturn Roe v. Wade.” 

Similar lawsuits are underway in Mississippi, which passed a ban on abortion after 15 weeks, and Kentucky, which banned abortions after 11 weeks. 

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate