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Planned Parenthood, ACLU Sue State Over New Abortion Law

Des Moines, Iowa (Radio Iowa) — The Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa have made good on their threat to file a lawsuit challenging a new state law they say is a “virtual ban” on all abortions in the state.

The law, approved by Republican legislators and signed by Republican Governor Kim Reynolds, would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected. Rita Bettis is legal director for the ACLU of Iowa.

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland president and CEO Suzanna de Baca says women will be forced to go out of state to get an abortion.

The groups first are seeking a court order to prevent the law from taking effect on July 1st. The lawsuit’s ultimate aim is to get Iowa’s Supreme Court to rule the law unconstitutional. 

That’s Francine Thompson, who is co-director of the Emma Goldman Clinic in Iowa City, the first outpatient abortion clinic in the state. Thompson says the new law would be an “almost-complete ban” on abortions, as about two percent of the abortions at her clinic are performed at or before the sixth week of a pregnancy.

The law would allow abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy in cases of rape if a women reports the crime within 45 days and in case of incest if the crime is reported within 140 days. Thompson says survivors of rape and incest risk getting kicked out of their home or being victimized again if they report the crime.

The lawsuit has been filed on behalf of a doctor and patients at the Emma Goldman and Planned Parenthood clinics in Iowa. Governor Reynolds has announced a Chicago law firm called the Thomas More Society will provide the legal defense for the state’s new abortion restriction, so there will be “no cost to taxpayers.”

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