State Watch

Judge rules Iowa’s ‘fetal heartbeat’ abortion law is unconstitutional


A state judge has ruled that Iowa’s “fetal heartbeat” abortion law is unconstitutional.

Polk County District Judge Michael Huppert ruled against the restrictive measure on Tuesday in a nine-page ruling, according to The Des Moines Register.

Huppert cited a previous ruling from the Iowa Supreme Court where the justices stated that “a woman’s right to decide whether to terminate a pregnancy is a fundamental right under the Iowa Constitution.”

The law would have forced a ban on nearly all abortions as soon as a heartbeat was detected, making it the most restrictive piece of legislation regarding abortion in the U.S. Heartbeats can reportedly be detected within six weeks of a pregnancy. 

Critics of the bill said many women don’t even know they are pregnant at the six-week mark in their pregnancy. 

The law, known as the “fetal heartbeat” bill, was set to take effect in July 2018. But a judge temporarily blocked it from becoming law until a lawsuit from Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and the American Civil Liberties Union was resolved. 

Huppert wrote in his decision that defenders of the law didn’t provide a compelling state interest in banning abortions after a heartbeat is detected, according to The Register. 

The Associated Press reported that supporters of the bill will likely request that the state Supreme Court hear an appeal. 

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