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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: 779749

Reported Deaths: 8705
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1551991932
Ramsey63983985
Dakota57663527
Anoka54651523
Washington34014332
Stearns28901255
St. Louis24156362
Scott21836160
Wright21662171
Olmsted18423120
Sherburne15716115
Carver1381257
Clay1034999
Rice10062131
Blue Earth977859
Crow Wing9658109
Kandiyohi851698
Chisago847164
Otter Tail8234106
Benton7604112
Beltrami670380
Mower656341
Douglas642091
Goodhue631285
Itasca630887
Winona618454
McLeod604471
Steele592525
Isanti581174
Morrison571569
Becker543464
Polk520080
Freeborn493642
Nobles484952
Lyon462356
Carlton453066
Nicollet440454
Pine433233
Cass432246
Mille Lacs424967
Brown416347
Todd409736
Le Sueur390132
Meeker364354
Waseca331831
Martin331537
Wabasha30608
Hubbard296544
Dodge277610
Roseau268027
Fillmore250514
Wadena244529
Redwood243643
Houston234217
Renville231449
Faribault223430
Pennington218427
Sibley214712
Cottonwood198529
Kanabec194730
Chippewa193840
Aitkin187143
Watonwan173112
Pope16348
Yellow Medicine160620
Rock158119
Jackson148615
Koochiching139619
Clearwater138318
Swift137519
Murray137011
Marshall135120
Pipestone133927
Stevens128011
Lake110921
Wilkin104414
Lac qui Parle100324
Mahnomen92112
Norman8939
Grant8129
Big Stone8055
Lincoln7895
Kittson61722
Red Lake5969
Unassigned554124
Traverse5285
Lake of the Woods4824
Cook2460

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 474151

Reported Deaths: 6785
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk74657729
Linn29194394
Scott24733274
Black Hawk20335358
Woodbury19207244
Johnson17988100
Dubuque15834229
Pottawattamie14276200
Dallas14109108
Story1288551
Warren774296
Cerro Gordo6951110
Webster6950111
Clinton6929101
Des Moines667594
Marshall641885
Muscatine6352113
Wapello5936137
Jasper578279
Lee565689
Sioux565676
Marion508191
Buena Vista491746
Plymouth463487
Henry389847
Jones370861
Washington366856
Benton359257
Bremer357168
Boone350937
Carroll346353
Crawford339347
Mahaska322856
Dickinson301052
Clay279133
Buchanan279039
Jackson273546
Kossuth271873
Hardin270249
Tama264976
Fayette260649
Delaware258546
Cedar249526
Page249328
Wright243645
Hamilton233954
Winneshiek233338
Floyd221845
Harrison217777
Madison216925
Clayton214558
Poweshiek211741
Iowa208029
Butler206638
Cass201557
Jefferson201040
Mills199929
Allamakee194753
Cherokee193844
Lyon192941
Hancock187639
Winnebago186633
Calhoun186116
Appanoose180850
Shelby178439
Louisa171052
Grundy168537
Humboldt167727
Emmet167146
Franklin164628
Mitchell164043
Union162637
Chickasaw159318
Sac157924
Guthrie155434
Montgomery142342
Palo Alto142032
Clarke141328
Keokuk139635
Monroe134335
Howard128222
Ida118641
Greene116315
Davis115225
Lucas113724
Pocahontas111423
Monona108738
Worth10818
Adair105335
Osceola94017
Fremont86111
Van Buren84221
Decatur82612
Taylor79713
Wayne74824
Ringgold67727
Audubon66814
Adams5095
Unassigned380
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