DES MOINES, Iowa – Attorney General Brenna Bird on Friday filed an application for interlocutory appeal with the Iowa Supreme Court to reinstate Iowa’s fetal heartbeat abortion ban passed and signed into law this month. The appeal challenges the temporary injunction granted by District Court Judge Joseph Seidlin last Monday blocking enforcement of a new law banning abortions at approximately six weeks after the ACLU of Iowa sued on behalf of Planned Parenthood North Central States and the Emma Goldman Clinic.
The Iowa Supreme Court, whose new term starts in September, will decide whether to hear the case.
“The right to life is the most fundamental right of all. Today, we are taking our defense of Iowa’s Heartbeat Law to the Iowa Supreme Court to allow the law to go back in effect and protect innocent lives. I’m confident that the law is on our side, and we will continue fighting for the right to life in court,” Bird said after filing the appeal.
“Judge Seidlin stated this week that the Iowa Supreme Court left off last month with an “invitation to litigate” further the standard of review on abortion regulations. Invitation or not, I will never stop fighting to protect our unborn children and to uphold state laws enacted by our elected legislators,” Gov. Kim Reynolds said in a released statement.
With the injunction, abortions are currently allowed up to 20 weeks.
Reynolds called special session after the Iowa Supreme Court in a split 3-3 opinion failed to lift a permanent injunction of the six week abortion ban passed in 2018. Three justices who were against lifting the injunction called the ban a “hypothetical law” since it was passed before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 2022. Justice Dana Oxley recused herself from the case that allowed the Iowa Supreme Court to be deadlocked.
The Iowa Legislature passed, and Reynolds signed a bill identical to the one passed in 2018 that ban abortions at the time a fetal heartbeat is detected at approximately six weeks.
The law allows exceptions for rape and incest (reported to law enforcement, public health agency, or physician), if a physician states there is a fetal abnormality incompatible with life, if there is a miscarriage that requires a D&C, or a medical emergency that threatens a mother’s life or will “create a serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.”