Iowa Supreme Court blocks new waiting period for abortions

Fowler declined to comment further, but on Thursday the ACLU said Iowa lawmakers and Branstad were putting politics ahead of women's health. He gave the state until noon Monday to respond, after which "the court will then consider whether the injunction should remain in force pending this court's resolution of appellants' application for interlocutory appeal".

A county judge will allow a mandatory 72-hour waiting period to go into effect for abortions in Iowa.

Suzanna de Baca, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, said in a statement that the law already caused confusion for patients.

Attorneys for Planned Parenthood and the ACLU argued the stay was needed because women who had existing appointments to obtain abortions were immediately restrained from getting them according to their scheduled appointments.

The voter identification bill signed by Branstad will require voters to show ID at the polls, a measure that Secretary of State Paul Pate said will be in effect for the 2018 Iowa gubernatorial election thanks to a "soft rollout" of the law. One woman had driven seven hours to her appointment, only to be told she couldn't have the procedure today; others were angry and upset at the intrusion into their lives.

Branstad told reporters he was encouraged by the district judge's swift decision the day before, saying "it's pretty unusual that someone would bring a legal challenge before a bill is even signed, but I think the district judge did the right thing".

Planned Parenthood argues this waiting period creates an undue burden on women seeking abortions, especially for poor or rural women, or women who may be at risk for domestic violence. Abortion-rights groups have indicated they will fight the law in the Iowa Supreme Court. Branstad called it a significant stride for the anti-abortion movement.

Alice Clapman, a lawyer for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, says 44 scheduled procedures will be made illegal if Branstad signs the bill as planned. Opponents have said the identification requirement and reduction of early voting days from 40 days to 29 will suppress voter participation.

"We welcome Iowa to the growing collection of states enacting necessary reforms to prevent against voter fraud and boost confidence in our elections", Adams said.

  • Rogelio Becker