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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: 581335

Reported Deaths: 7267
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1206301710
Ramsey50221865
Dakota44921441
Anoka40688432
Washington26275278
Stearns21864220
St. Louis17475302
Scott16941123
Wright15685135
Olmsted1308297
Sherburne1136784
Carver1029545
Clay806892
Rice7920104
Blue Earth736041
Crow Wing650687
Kandiyohi646681
Chisago579751
Otter Tail565877
Benton558897
Goodhue469972
Mower459432
Douglas458774
Winona447350
McLeod416558
Itasca416253
Morrison412660
Isanti407062
Nobles406348
Beltrami386258
Steele379115
Polk378567
Becker374049
Lyon356850
Carlton340152
Freeborn338929
Pine323321
Nicollet320243
Brown302740
Mille Lacs297252
Le Sueur284722
Todd277131
Cass264828
Meeker249638
Waseca234821
Martin227131
Roseau204519
Wabasha20293
Hubbard182941
Dodge18073
Renville177543
Redwood170636
Houston166915
Cottonwood161921
Fillmore153710
Pennington153219
Wadena152121
Chippewa151238
Faribault149419
Kanabec141824
Sibley140610
Aitkin132836
Watonwan12979
Rock126819
Jackson120911
Pipestone113626
Yellow Medicine113420
Pope10766
Murray10529
Swift103818
Stevens88011
Marshall87417
Clearwater85416
Koochiching80914
Lake80519
Wilkin79612
Lac qui Parle74822
Big Stone5924
Lincoln5723
Grant5638
Mahnomen5408
Norman5369
Unassigned51793
Kittson48222
Red Lake3947
Traverse3675
Lake of the Woods3173
Cook1550

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 364143

Reported Deaths: 5900
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk57127619
Linn20675333
Scott19714239
Black Hawk15734307
Woodbury15078228
Johnson1438283
Dubuque13308207
Dallas1108797
Pottawattamie11021166
Story1052948
Warren571488
Clinton550792
Cerro Gordo534689
Sioux511674
Webster510892
Marshall480775
Muscatine472999
Des Moines450366
Wapello4278122
Buena Vista423940
Jasper412770
Plymouth399979
Lee371955
Marion360075
Jones296457
Henry290237
Carroll284352
Bremer282360
Crawford264140
Boone262334
Benton254955
Washington252250
Dickinson247343
Mahaska228850
Jackson220642
Clay214625
Kossuth214564
Tama208871
Delaware208040
Winneshiek196333
Page191921
Buchanan190331
Cedar188623
Hardin184443
Fayette184341
Wright183136
Harrison179073
Hamilton178949
Clayton168456
Butler163734
Mills161321
Madison159719
Floyd159442
Cherokee158338
Lyon157541
Poweshiek154533
Allamakee150251
Iowa147924
Hancock146534
Winnebago140631
Cass137654
Grundy136032
Calhoun135313
Emmet133040
Jefferson132135
Shelby130337
Sac129819
Appanoose127847
Louisa127849
Union127332
Mitchell125642
Chickasaw123515
Guthrie120629
Humboldt118726
Franklin116221
Palo Alto112123
Howard104122
Montgomery102437
Unassigned9990
Clarke99324
Keokuk95431
Monroe95028
Ida90234
Adair86032
Pocahontas85422
Monona82830
Davis81324
Osceola77716
Greene77310
Lucas76823
Worth7338
Taylor65612
Fremont6209
Decatur6059
Van Buren55618
Ringgold54424
Wayne53123
Audubon5009
Adams3374
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