DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A state judge has struck down Iowa's restrictive "fetal heartbeat" abortion law.
Judge Michael Huppert on Tuesday found the law unconstitutional. He concluded that the Iowa Supreme Court's earlier decisions that affirm a woman's fundamental right to an abortion would include the new law passed last year.
The law would ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected. That can happen as early as six weeks into pregnancy. It would have been the most restrictive anti-abortion law in the nation. But the legal challenge by abortion providers Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and the Emma Goldman Clinic had halted it from taking effect last July.
Supporters of the law are likely to ask the Iowa Supreme Court to hear an appeal of Huppert's ruling.
Gov. Kim Reynolds released the following statement:
"I am incredibly disappointed in today’s court ruling, because I believe that if death is determined when a heart stops beating, then a beating heart indicates life."
Senate Democratic Leader Janet Petersen said the following:
“The District Court decision sends a strong message to Iowa women that their constitutional rights are important and their health care decisions should be made by them, not politicians. The extreme law should have been overturned because it restricted the freedom of Iowa women and girls to care for their bodies and it forced motherhood on them. The Governor and legislative Republicans should stop attacking women’s health care. I want Iowa to be known as the safest place in the country to have a baby.”