Iowa Supreme Court Blocks Pro-Life Law Requiring 3-Day Waiting Period Before Abortion

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Oct 25, 2017   |   11:09AM   |   Des Moines, IA

The Iowa Supreme Court blocked part of a new state law this week that requires women to wait three days before having an abortion.

The state high court put a temporary block on the law Monday, barring the government from enforcing it until Planned Parenthood has the chance to argue against it in court, the Quad-City Times reports.

Approved in May, the Iowa law requires that a woman be offered the chance to see an ultrasound of her unborn baby, hear his/her heartbeat and receive information about her baby’s development, abortion risks and alternatives. It also requires that women wait 72 hours after receiving the information before having an abortion.

These laws help protect unborn babies from abortion, and the abortion industry knows it. Research has found that when women see ultrasound images of their unborn babies, they are more likely to choose life.

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and the ACLU challenged the law in court earlier this year, claiming it places an “undue burden” on women’s access to abortion.

At the beginning of October, state Judge Jeffrey Farrell refused the abortion chain’s request to block it. The abortion groups then appealed to the state Supreme Court.

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Here’s more from the local news report:

Attorneys challenging the new law argued pregnant women in Iowa could face medically unnecessary delays, higher costs, social stigmas and other obstacles if the statute were to take effect. Low-income and rural women would be impacted at higher rates, they argued.

Attorneys representing the state called those contentions speculative, while arguing that regulators have a legitimate interest in overseeing the medical profession in promoting public safety and protecting life.

Farrell, whose order included a 30-day stay, acknowledged that the law could negatively affect low-income women and is likely to change few minds about undergoing an abortion. But, he said, the law itself does not pass the undue burden test.

“There is no question that the second trip will have some impact on low-income women and those who have to drive longer distances,” the judge wrote. “However, the fact that there is some burden is not dispositive if the act does not place a substantial obstacle in the way of women getting an abortion.”

The law also prohibits abortions after 20 weeks when strong scientific evidence indicates unborn babies can feel pain, but the pro-abortion groups did not challenge that part of the law.

“Our state was previously one of the most permissive on abortion, allowing abortion on-demand well beyond five months, more than halfway through pregnancy,” said Jenifer Bowen, a spokeswoman for Iowa Right to Life, when the bill passed in May. “After a years-long battle to gain a pro-life Senate, Iowa finally succeeded in passing life-saving legislation that bans painful late-term abortions.”