Iowa governor signs abortion law

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) on Monday signed a bill into law that requires a person to wait 24 hours before getting an abortion in the state. 

“I am proud to stand up for the sanctity of every human life,” Reynolds said in a statement to The Associated Press. “I applaud the Iowa lawmakers who had the courage to stand strong and take action to protect the unborn child.”

The governor signed the bill roughly a week after it passed the state legislature, and Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Iowa filed a lawsuit in state court to block the measure from going into effect on Wednesday. The groups argue the legislation could delay access to an abortion by weeks and is similar to one the Iowa Supreme Court struck down two years ago

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The bill would require people seeking an abortion to make an additional clinic appointment at least 24 hours before their procedure. Planned Parenthood argues the bill creates an “unnecessary burden” for Iowans seeking abortions and could delay a person’s access to the procedure by weeks. 

“Many of our patients must drive four or more hours one-way for abortion services, so this legislation will only create more hurdles to getting care,” Erin Davison-Rippey, Iowa executive director of Planned Parenthood North Central States, said in a statement announcing the lawsuit. “It's already hard enough for many Iowans to access abortion services, especially in the middle of a global pandemic. This is clearly a political ploy to create barriers to sexual and reproductive health care in Iowa.”

Planned Parenthood and the ACLU noted that the state Supreme Court struck down a similar provision less than two years ago, when it rejected a 72-hour waiting period law. 

“The Iowa Supreme Court only two years ago ruled that a law precisely like this one violated the fundamental rights of Iowans to seek an abortion,” ACLU of Iowa Legal Director Rita Bettis Austen said in a statement. “It recognized in that decision that mandatory delays and additional trips to the clinic don’t change people’s minds—they only serve to try to shame women and put obstacles in their way. That precedent requires that this law be struck down. 

A spokesperson for Reynolds was not immediately available for comment. 

The Supreme Court on Monday struck down a Louisiana abortion law that sought to require physicians who perform abortions to hold “active admitting privileges” at a hospital within 30 miles of their facility.