Judge permanently blocks Iowa law mandating 24-hour abortion waiting period

An Iowa judge has permanently blocked a state law mandating a 24-hour waiting period before getting an abortion.

Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) signed the measure into law in June 2020; it requires people seeking an abortion to make an additional appointment at least 24 hours before their procedure.

In a 28-page ruling on Monday, Judge Mitchell E. Turner found that the law violated the state’s constitution because it was passed as an amendment to an unrelated measure. He also found that the measure was similar to a 72-hour waiting period on abortions that the Iowa Supreme Court struck down in 2018.

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The measure, Amendment H-8314, came as an add-on to a bill relating to withdrawing life-sustaining procedures from minors.

Under the amendment, women would have to receive an ultrasound and certain state-mandated information and then wait at least 24 hours before having an abortion.

Just after the state legislature passed the bill, Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit to block the measure.

In his ruling, Turner noted that a review of videos from the Iowa legislature made it clear that the measure violated the single-subject rule of the state’s constitution — which mandates that an act has to only address one issue.

“Upon review of both the Iowa Senate and House videos, it is abundantly clear to this Court that what occurred in the Iowa Legislature on June 13th and 14th, 2020 was exactly such ‘tricks in legislation’ and ‘mischiefs’ that the single-subject rule exists to prevent,” Turner wrote.

The court previously granted a temporary injunction to block the measure on June 30. Turner’s ruling makes that ban permanent while also canceling a trial in the case that was scheduled for next January.

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The Hill has reached out to Reynolds's office for comment.

Most abortions in Iowa are banned after 20 weeks of pregnancy, according to the Des Moines Register.

The Iowa legislature passed a constitutional amendment last month declaring that residents don’t have a fundamental right to abortions. The measure has to be passed again in 2023 or 2024 before voters decide on it.