District court judge overturns Iowa’s ‘fetal heartbeat’ law
DES MOINES — A district court judge has ruled Iowa’s so-called “fetal heartbeat” law is unconstitutional.
Last May, Governor Kim Reynolds signed the law to ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat may be detected, which happens in about the sixth week of a pregnancy. Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa immediately challenged the law in court.
Governor Reynolds issued a written statement late Tuesday afternoon, saying a “beating heart indicates life” and she’s “incredibly disappointed” by the ruling. Senator Janet Petersen, a Democrat from Des Moines who’s a leading critic of the proposal, also issued a statement. Petersen called the law “extreme” and says it “forced motherhood” on Iowa women and girls.
Last summer the Iowa Supreme Court ruled a 72-hour waiting period for abortions was unconstitutional. There’s no word yet on whether the state’s highest court will be asked to rule on the constitutionality of the fetal heartbeat law.