The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Iowa enters argument in six-week abortion ban state Supreme Court case

Iowa Attorney General’s office entered its brief in the legal battle to enact Iowa’s most recent fetal heartbeat bill.
Jordan Barry
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds publicly endorses Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for his 2024 presidential election bid at the River Center in Des Moines on Monday Nov. 6, 2023.

Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird filed an appeal to the state Supreme Court on Wednesday, asking the court to reinstate the abortion ban that Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed into law in July.

The abortion ban was blocked by a Polk County District court shortly after it was enacted in July. Now the bill goes to the Iowa Supreme Court. 

The brief comes on the heels of a ballot measure in Ohio that added constitutional protections for abortion access to the Ohio Constitution. The Ohio measure garnered 56.6 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results from the New York Times. 

The lawsuit blocking the bill, until it can be closely considered by the courts, was brought by Planned Parenthood, a reproductive health organization, and Iowa abortion providers. 

The bill banned abortions after a “fetal heartbeat” can be detected, which is typically around six weeks of pregnancy — much before most people know they are pregnant, experts assert. 

The bill included provisions that allowed abortion in the case of rape, incest, or danger to the life of the mother. However, Democrats have criticized the qualifiers for those exceptions. 

RELATED: One year post Roe v. Wade overturning, rapid injunction follows passing of fetal heartbeat bill

Under the currently injuncted law, cases of rape must be reported within 45 days of the rape, and cases of incest must be reported within 120 days of the incest. The law also carves out exceptions for miscarriage and fatal fetal abnormalities. 

The law only applies to physicians performing the abortion and not the mother’s receiving an abortion. 

What’s their case 

Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird said she is confident that the law is on the state’s side and that the Supreme Court will uphold the law. 

“No right is more valuable than the right to life,” Bird said in a news release. “Each day, innocent, unborn lives are lost to abortion … I’m confident that the law is on our side, and we will continue fighting to defend the right to life in court.”

The 64-page legal filing lays out the constitutional standards of review that the state thinks should apply to the law. 

The filing argues that the court should use the rational basis to review the constitutionality of the law, meaning the state has a rational interest in depriving a right it is constitutional. 

Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit argued that the newly enacted Iowa law places an undue burden on women seeking abortion care — the same standard used in Roe v. Wade. 

The state’s filing also argued that since Roe v. Wade, the legal precedent that federally protected abortion rights, is no longer law that the court should side with the state and allow the law to be enacted. 

The state’s filing also questioned the abortion providers’ legal basis for joining the suit, saying they don’t have a constitutional basis to join the suit. 

Reynolds voiced her support for the legal brief on Wednesday in a news release. Reynolds said the legislature spoke when they enacted the law in July and that the law needs to be enforced.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Liam Halawith
Liam Halawith, Politics Editor
Liam Halawith is a third-year student at the University of Iowa studying Journalism and Mass Communication and minoring in Public Policy. Before his role as Politics Editor Liam was a politics reporter for the DI. Outside of the DI Liam has interned at the Cedar Rapids Gazette and the Southeast Iowa Union. This is his second year working for the DI.