Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed a bill on Monday that requires women to wait 24 hours before having an abortion in an attempt to reintroduce a restriction similar to one that was struck two years ago by the Iowa Supreme Court .
Reynolds signed the measure into law shortly after lawyers representing Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and the state gathered arguments before a judge in the state. The court now has to decide whether the immediate implementation of the new law, which comes into force on Wednesday, should be stopped immediately.
“I am proud to stand up for the holiness of every human life,” the Republican governor said in a statement. “I applaud the Iowa lawmakers who had the courage to stand strong and take action to protect the unborn child.”
Planned Parenthood claims in a lawsuit filed last week that the bill is unconstitutional, as passed in the middle of the night without public debate. The group argues that the bill also violates the due process and equal protection rights of women seeking an abortion, as does a 72-hour waiting period law that the Iowa Supreme Court repealed in 2018.
“The situation feels like Groundhog Day because we were only here three years ago to seek the same emergency and implement a mandatory delay law that was indistinguishable from this,” said Alice Clapman, Planned Parenthood attorney.
In that ruling, the court ruled that not only did the waiting period law violate women’s constitutional rights, but that the Iowa Constitution guarantees women the right to control their own bodies, including applying for an abortion.
Planned Parenthood asks Judge Mitchell Turner to issue an order preventing the newly signed law from being enforced until a process can be held to determine whether the law is constitutional.
Turner urged state attorneys to explain how Iowans’ right to a fair trial was met, as Iowa House amended an unrelated law at 11 p.m. Saturday, and the Iowa Senate on Sunday the last passage.
“Isn’t the hallmark of a fair trial the idea that people should be informed and that citizens have the right to know what their legislators are voting for? Why doesn’t this go against a fair trial? Turner asked.
Thomas Ogden, an assistant attorney general, said there is nothing wrong with rushing legislation overnight.
“The role of the court is not to control the legislative process,” said Ogden. “That is a role that is left only to the people of Iowa.”
The new measure requires a woman to wait 24 hours after an initial appointment for an abortion before the procedure can be started. Clapman said this may force some women to wait months to make a second appointment and incur additional costs.
The signing of the bill and the lawsuit come one day when a divided U.S. Supreme Court overturned a Louisiana law mandating physicians who perform abortions to have access rights at nearby hospitals.
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