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Calvin Freiburger

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Judge blocks Iowa’s heartbeat abortion ban

Calvin Freiburger

POLK COUNTY, Iowa, June 1, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A judge has granted the abortion lobby’s request to temporarily block enforcement of Iowa’s new ban on aborting babies with detectable heartbeats, pending a final verdict on the law’s constitutionality.

Polk County District Court Judge Michael Huppert made the decision Friday in a brief hearing, the Des Moines Register reports. Attorneys representing the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and Iowa City’s Emma Goldman Clinic claim the law violates both Roe v. Wade and the Iowa Constitution. They requested the temporary injunction to resolve the “uncertainty” of women seeking abortions.

Lawyers with the conservative Thomas More Society, which is representing Iowa in the place of Democratic state Attorney General Tom Miller, had agreed to the injunction ahead of time in the interest of “getting to a resolution on the merits sooner.”

"It’s really a message of the attorneys saying, 'We’re going to be best prepared as we take on this case,'" agreed Family Leader president Bob Vander Plaats, who was present in the courtroom.

"[T]he process gave pro-life attorneys too little time to build their best case. And we’re not going to play into that game. Babies’ lives are too precious to put up a rushed legal defense,” the Iowa Coalition of Pro-Life Leaders said in a statement. “This case was never going to be concluded this week. And we’re confident that when the process plays out, and when the American people have the chance to hear all the facts, they’ll see that the child in the womb … she’s a baby.”

Iowa Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the law, which is the strongest in the United States, on May 4. It is expected to stop most abortions, starting between 6-8 weeks, with exceptions for rape, incest, fetal abnormalities, and threats to a mother’s life. 

Reynolds subsequently vowed to defend the law, declaring it a “fight worth having, and pro-life lawmakers see it as an opportunity to challenge Roe v. Wade. Thomas More agreed to take the case pro-bono after Miller decided defending the law would violate his personal support for abortion.

The US Supreme Court is unlikely to uphold the heartbeat law and overturn Roe under its current membership. But pro-life leaders such as Rep. Steve King, R-IA, have argued for enacting similar laws anyway because it takes more than a year for a state law to reach the court, by which time many expect President Donald Trump to have appointed another pro-life justice, securing a clear pro-life majority.

"Court proceedings to decide the fate of the fetal heartbeat abortion law will take months, if not longer,” Iowa Public Radio reporter Katarina Sostaric notes.

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