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Iowa governor opts not to appeal fetal heartbeat law ruling

Gov. Kim Reynolds called it an extremely difficult decision but the right one for the state.

Posted: Feb 19, 2019 7:12 AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa's governor said Monday she decided against appealing a judge's ruling last month that struck down Iowa's "fetal heartbeat" abortion law, which would have been the most restrictive anti-abortion law in the nation.

Gov. Kim Reynolds called it an extremely difficult decision but the right one for the state.

"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," said Reynolds, a Republican who signed the bill last May after a GOP-run Legislature passed it.

Some supporters hoped it would lead to a federal appeal ending with a more conservative leaning U.S. Supreme Court overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion nationally. However, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa challenged the law on state constitutional grounds only foreclosing a federal appeal.

Any appeal would have ended with the Iowa Supreme Court which last June struck down an earlier Iowa law that required a 72-hour waiting period for women seeking an abortion. The court said in that ruling the state constitution guarantees women freedom to make their own health decisions including an abortion, noting that "autonomy and dominion over one's body go to the very heart of what it means to be free."

"The fact that this ruling will go without further legal challenge is a victory for every Iowan who has ever needed or will need a safe, legal abortion," said Erin Davison-Rippey, Planned Parenthood state executive director.

ACLU of Iowa Executive Director Mark Stringer said his organization is "proud of a Constitution that affirms a women's fundamental right, in consultation with her doctor and loved ones, to make one of the most difficult, personal decisions she'll ever make. Government has no place in that."

Judge Michael Huppert said last month the fetal heartbeat bill signed last May by Reynolds violated due process and equal protection provisions of the Iowa Constitution based on previous Iowa Supreme Court rulings.

The law would have banned an abortion once a fetal heartbeat was detected, as early as six weeks into pregnancy.

Reynolds said she's proud "to lead the most pro-life state in the country and remain firm in my belief that all human life is precious."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 453808

Reported Deaths: 6131
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin941381495
Ramsey40509748
Dakota33463350
Anoka31283368
Washington20471234
Stearns18051190
St. Louis13916247
Scott1213098
Wright11756107
Olmsted1073975
Sherburne827868
Carver703139
Clay657684
Rice621170
Kandiyohi556772
Blue Earth546833
Crow Wing489178
Otter Tail463167
Chisago458138
Benton423288
Winona394248
Douglas378466
Nobles374447
Mower372129
Goodhue355362
Polk330660
McLeod327947
Beltrami315048
Morrison314145
Lyon304738
Becker288839
Itasca287143
Isanti284842
Carlton283543
Steele278510
Pine269614
Freeborn253623
Todd233130
Nicollet227938
Brown217434
Mille Lacs215045
Le Sueur213516
Cass210524
Meeker201233
Waseca192816
Wabasha17413
Martin171726
Roseau166317
Hubbard150238
Redwood141027
Houston139814
Dodge13864
Renville138040
Chippewa132332
Cottonwood128918
Fillmore12646
Wadena120218
Rock111912
Aitkin111233
Sibley10947
Faribault108816
Watonwan10688
Pennington101016
Kanabec99318
Pipestone96423
Yellow Medicine94916
Murray9096
Jackson87310
Swift84418
Pope7465
Stevens7078
Marshall70315
Clearwater68714
Lake66315
Lac qui Parle66016
Wilkin6349
Koochiching60310
Lincoln4892
Big Stone4693
Unassigned44568
Grant4388
Norman4258
Mahnomen4147
Kittson37320
Red Lake3204
Traverse2613
Lake of the Woods1961
Cook1150

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 310915

Reported Deaths: 4432
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk46760465
Linn18037279
Scott15838172
Black Hawk14076243
Woodbury13111181
Johnson1228552
Dubuque11615159
Pottawattamie9146115
Dallas907772
Story879438
Cerro Gordo472572
Webster472077
Sioux459657
Warren458039
Clinton457768
Marshall430762
Buena Vista396230
Muscatine395878
Des Moines394943
Plymouth352870
Wapello349898
Jasper331659
Lee324132
Marion308953
Jones274650
Henry267331
Carroll258234
Bremer249848
Crawford234324
Washington222933
Boone222717
Benton213050
Mahaska197637
Jackson194932
Tama190159
Dickinson188329
Kossuth178544
Delaware176036
Clay172021
Wright166624
Fayette165924
Hamilton162230
Buchanan162024
Winneshiek160820
Harrison158162
Hardin156931
Cedar155519
Clayton153849
Butler150924
Page146415
Floyd141436
Cherokee140027
Mills138517
Lyon137533
Poweshiek134924
Hancock131524
Allamakee130930
Iowa127722
Madison123610
Calhoun12349
Grundy122528
Jefferson122125
Winnebago121729
Mitchell116837
Louisa116230
Cass114843
Chickasaw113712
Appanoose112440
Sac112015
Emmet111232
Union111023
Humboldt106619
Shelby105427
Guthrie104224
Franklin103318
Unassigned10110
Palo Alto91711
Montgomery88324
Keokuk86326
Howard85519
Monroe82220
Clarke8108
Pocahontas78111
Ida75930
Davis70121
Greene6977
Adair69620
Monona67018
Lucas66610
Osceola64711
Worth6184
Taylor5999
Fremont5246
Van Buren50215
Decatur4964
Ringgold44811
Audubon4218
Wayne41921
Adams2993
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