Republican Iowa Governor Reynolds signs abortion law during 24-hour waiting period amid lawsuit


Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed into law on Monday requiring women to wait 24 hours before aborting, again trying to establish a restriction similar to the one the Iowa Supreme Court lifted two years ago.

Reynolds signed the measure into law just after attorneys representing Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and the state concluded the arguments before a state court judge. The court must now decide whether to immediately halt application of the new law, which will take effect on Wednesday.

“I am proud to defend the sanctity of every human life,” the Republican governor said in a statement. “I applaud the Iowa legislators who had the courage to stand firm and take steps to protect the fetus.”

Planned Parenthood claims in a lawsuit filed last week that the bill is unconstitutional in the way it was passed in the middle of the night without public debate. The group argues that the bill also violates due process and equal protection rights for women seeking an abortion, as does a 72-hour waiting period law that the Iowa Supreme Court struck down in 2018.

“The situation feels like Groundhog Day because we were here just three years ago seeking the same emergency relief and litigating a mandatory delay law that was indistinguishable from this one,” said Alice Clapman, an attorney for Planned Parenthood.

The court in that ruling found not only that the waiting period law violated women’s constitutional rights, but that the Iowa Constitution guarantees women the right to control their own bodies, including seeking an abortion.

Planned Parenthood is asking Judge Mitchell Turner to issue a court order preventing the newly signed law from applying until a trial can be held to determine whether it is constitutional.

Turner pressured state attorneys to explain how Iowans’ due process rights were enforced considering that the Iowa House amended a law unrelated to 11 p.m.

“Isn’t the hallmark of due process the notion that people require notice and that citizens have a right to know what their legislatures vote on? How can this not go against due process? Turner asked.

Thomas Ogden, an assistant attorney general, said there is nothing wrong with hastily passing the legislation overnight.

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