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Iowa Judge Blocks Six-Week Abortion Ban From Taking Effect

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds

Iowa's "fetal heartbeat" bill remains blocked following a judge's ruling to dismiss Republican Governor Kim Reynolds' motion.

Iowa's six-week abortion ban will remain blocked following a state judge's ruling to uphold a permanent injunction on the law.

Iowa's law banned abortions after the detection of a "fetal heartbeat," around six weeks into a pregnancy, before many are even aware they are pregnant. The law contained exceptions for rape, incest, fetal abnormality, and medical emergencies.

In 2018, Republican Governor Kim Reynolds signed the ban into law, before the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that the bill violated federal abortion law in 2019, and issued a permanent injunction to keep it from taking effect.

Following the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that abortion was no longer protected in the state constitution. The state's government soon after filed to have the injunction on the six-week ban dissolved.

The injunction will now remain on the law, keeping abortion legal in the state, after Judge Celene Gogerty ruled that the government did not have the authority to overturn the state Supreme Court's previous ruling.

"There is no caselaw to support, and none has been given by the state, that a permanent injunction being issued based on a finding that a statute was unconstitutional and void at the time it was passed may later be modified or vacated because of the inherent authority of the issuing court to modify or vacate the permanent injunction based on a change in the law," she wrote.

President and CEO of Planned Parenthood's North Central States division, Ruth Richardson, told the Des Moines Register that the ruling will protect the bodily autonomy rights of Iowa citizens.

"The district court’s decision is a huge win for abortion rights and bodily autonomy in Iowa. For now, abortion remains safe and legal in the state, and Iowans will continue to have control over their ability to determine their lives and futures."

But Democratic state Senator Sarah Trone Garriott added that the fight to keep abortion protected in Iowa is far from over.

“While this is a positive development that will preserve Iowans’ basic rights in the near term, we all know where this is headed," she said. "Republicans want to ban abortion — at six weeks or altogether if they can."

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