Judge Michael Huppert in Iowa temporarily halted a law Friday that bans abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected. Since a fetal heartbeat can be detected at around six weeks into the pregnancy, the measure is the most restrictive abortion ban in the nation.
Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union brought a legal challenge against the measure shortly after Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the law earlier in May dubbing it “beyond extreme.”
Abortion groups are arguing that the law, which would’ve taken effect July 31, is unconstitutional as it would ban abortion at a point prior to the time women even know they’re pregnant.
"Not only is this law blatantly unconstitutional — it's extremely harmful to women," Planned Parenthood commented on the lawsuit filed on behalf of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and the Emma Goldman Clinic in Iowa City.
ACLU of Iowa Legal Director Rita Bettis praised Judge Huppert’s decision to issue the injunction Friday.
"Women in Iowa don't have to live with the burden of that uncertainty of knowing whether or not they'll have abortion rights come July 1," Bettis said.
Martin Cannon, an attorney with the Thomas More Society, the firm representing the state in the case, told Iowa Public Radio that they wouldn’t fight the injunction.
“We’d like to get to the merits of the case sooner, without just rehashing old ground,” Cannon said. “We think that we’ll have a better resolution, sooner, if we skip this step.”