Judge Declares Iowa’s “Fetal Heartbeat” Abortion Law Unconstitutional

An Iowa judge has blocked the state’s fetal heartbeat law that bans women from receiving an abortion as soon as a heartbeat is detected.

On Tuesday afternoon, a Polk County district judge referenced a ruling in the Iowa Supreme Court that involved Planned Parenthood and the State of Iowa, in which the Supreme Court determined that it “is a woman’s right to decide whether or not to terminate a pregnancy is a fundamental right under the Iowa Constitution, and that any governmental limits on that right are to be analyzed using strict scrutiny.”

Judge Michael Huppert wrote in his filing that “any legislative restrictions on a woman’s fundamental right to decide to terminate a pregnancy should be measured solely by a strict scrutiny analysis: Ultimately, adopting the undue burden standard would relegate the individual rights of Iowa women to something less than fundamental…”

Huppert added that previous court rulings have found that a woman’s decision to have an abortion should not have “restrictions based either upon arbitrary timelines, or…the detection of a fetal heartbeat.” Furthermore, Huppert wrote the law “is violative of both the due process and equal protective provisions of the Iowa Constitution as not being narrowly tailored to serve the compelling state interest of promoting potential life.”

The fetal heartbeat law was proposed in 2018 legislative session by Gov. Reynolds and was later signed into effect on May 4.

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