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Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

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VICTORY: Iowa judge upholds 72-hour waiting period before abortion

Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

DES MOINES, Iowa, October 3, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Planned Parenthood lost its bid to stop Iowa’s pro-life waiting period law.

District Court Judge Jeffrey Farrell turned down the abortion giant in its request for a permanent injunction blocking the law, which requires mothers to consider what they’re doing for 72 hours before getting an abortion.  

In doing so, Farrell ruled that pro-life waiting period laws are constitutional.

The law, which then-Gov. Terry Branstad signed in May before he became Ambassador to China, also bans abortions on pain-capable pre-borns after 20 weeks’ gestation. It also requires an ultrasound to accurately determine gestational age and gives women the choice of seeing and/or hearing the ultrasound.

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland (PPH) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) are appealing the law, which they call “malicious” and “anti-woman,” to the Iowa Supreme Court. In the meantime, the law is on hold.

PPH president Suzanna de Baca vowed to fight the law. “This unconstitutional disregard by lawmakers — including (current pro-life Republican) Gov. Kim Reynolds — for women and their right to abortion access, is unacceptable,” she said. “We will fight with every available resource until we ensure that all women have access to the care they need.”

Waiting periods are on the books in most states. Pro-abortion organizations argue that they infringe on access to abortion because they effectively require a second appointment after the waiting period.  They say that’s an unconstitutional “undue burden” on abortion access.

“There is no question that the second trip will have some impact on low-income women and those who have to drive longer distances,” Judge Farrell acknowledged. “However, the fact that there is some burden is not dispositive if the act does not place a substantial obstacle in the way of women getting an abortion.”

“The ‘undue burden’ standard has been criticized, but it fairly balances the two competing interests of a woman’s right to choose an abortion versus the public’s interest in potential life,” Farrell wrote. “The public’s interest in potential life is an interest that cannot be denied under the law.”

Gov. Reynolds supports the law. “The law makes it so that a doctor can’t perform an abortion unless the mother has an opportunity to see her child through an ultrasound and hear the child’s beating heart,” spokeswoman Brenna Smith said, “giving her time to think about whether or not she wants to stop that beating heart.”

“If that time of reflection changes just one mind,” Smith concluded, “then the law has accomplished what it set out to do — to save a life.”

Farrell had previously ruled in favor of a state Board of Medicine case that disallowed “telemed” abortions, but his support was overruled by the Iowa Supreme Court.

Earlier this year, PPH said it was closing four of its facilities because of new laws blocking tax funds to abortion businesses.

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