Iowa Gov will not appeal ruling striking down ‘fetal heartbeat’ abortion law

by Kim Boateng Posted on February 20th, 2019

Des Moines, Iowa: Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds confirmed Monday in a press release that she will not appeal a judge’s ruling that struck down the state’s “fetal heartbeat” abortion law.

The law would have been one of the most restrictive anti-abortion laws in the country. Reynolds noted that while she disagrees with the judgement, she ultimately accepts the decision for the state.

The legislation in contention, Iowa Code Chapter 146C, also known as the “fetal heartbeat” law, prohibits a woman from obtaining an abortion if a fetal heartbeat is detected. A fetus can have a heartbeat as early as six weeks into the gestation period. Reynolds signed the legislation into law last May and immediately faced backlash from reproductive rights groups.

Planned Parenthood filed suit against the legislation, claiming it violated equal protection rights of women under the Iowa Constitution. Polk County District Judge Michael Huppert ruled in favor of Planned Parenthood and subsequently struck down the law in January. In his opinion, Huppert agreed the law violated both due process and equal protection provisions. The ruling cited precedent established from the Iowa Supreme Court who previously affirmed the right to terminate a pregnancy was protected in the constitution.

Reynolds, who initially indicated she would appeal the judgement, stated that the lengthy legal process has deterred her from pursuing the matter any further. Instead, Reynolds noted that the state will focus on other means to advance pro-life policies.

Gov. Reynolds releases statement on Fetal Heartbeat Lawsuit

Gov. Kim Reynolds released the following statement on her decision not to appeal the ruling of Iowa District Court Judge Michael Huppert that Iowa Code chapter 146C (the Fetal Heartbeat law) violates the Iowa Constitution:

“This was an extremely difficult decision, however it is the right one for the pro-life movement and the state of Iowa. When I signed the Fetal Heartbeat bill last May, we knew that it would be an uphill fight in the courts that might take us all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

But everything changed last June, when the Iowa Supreme Court struck down our 72-hour waiting period after concluding that the Iowa Constitution provides a right to an abortion and imposes strict scrutiny on all our abortion laws. I think the Iowa Supreme Court got it wrong. But after this decision and because of Planned Parenthood’s legal maneuverings, I see no path to successfully appeal the district court’s decision or to get this lawsuit before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Rather than be distracted by a losing legal battle, now is the time to renew our focus on changing hearts and minds and to seek other ways to advance the cause of protecting the unborn in Iowa and around the nation. I’m proud to lead the most pro-life state in the country and remain firm in my belief that all human life is precious.”

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