Legal challenges filed to new Iowa abortion law

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The Iowa legislation, which does not go into effect until July 1, bans abortions once a fetus' heartbeat can be detected.

Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union's Iowa branch said they sued on Tuesday to stop a state law that would impose the strictest abortion limits in the United States from taking effect.

If and when Iowa's fetal heartbeat abortion ban takes effect, Quad-City patients seeking abortion services will need to travel about 90 miles to one of two family planning facilities in IL.

Bettis said the trio of groups is bringing the legal action in state court because the organizations believe Iowa's constitutional protections for abortion rights set out in an earlier telemedicine case before the Iowa Supreme Court are "as strong if not more so" than the federal constitution. Proponents of the bill in Iowa's legislature have sought to use the bill spark a legal challenge to the 1973 ruling. Pro-abortion rights advocates say those who don't have the resources to leave Iowa will be forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term, or in some cases will attempt to self-induce, a sometimes-dangerous act.

Suzanna de Baca, president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, called the "fetal heartbeat" provision a "de facto ban" on legal abortion that "would be the most-restrictive abortion ban in the country" if it were allowed to take effect.

Republican state Senator Rick Bertrand said last month the law was in part "an opportunity to take a run at Roe v. Wade".

Other plaintiffs in the lawsuit include Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, the affiliate's medical director and the Emma Goldman Clinic in Iowa City.

The lawsuit also names the Iowa Board of Medicine as a defendant.

Iowa's "heartbeat" bill was passed by the Iowa House, 51-46, and the state Senate passed the bill 29-17 in early May, sending it to Gov. Kim Reynolds (R), who has said abortion is "equivalent to murder".

The groups claim that the law is a direct violation of the Supreme Court's decision upholding abortion rights in 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.

Iowa is now in court defending a 2017 abortion law that imposes a 72-hour mandatory waiting period and an additional trip requirement for women seeking an abortion.

Thompson told reporters the new law would be an "almost-complete ban" on abortions, as only about 2 percent of the abortions at her clinic are performed at or before the sixth week of a pregnancy.

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