The ACLU of Iowa argues that if the court upholds the 72-hour wait period as well as the six-week ban, women will be placed in a risky position where they are forced to either carry an unwanted pregnancy to term, obtain an abortion in another state or self-induce an abortion.
"The lawsuit was expected, and the growing pro-life movement isn't deterred by it", said Drew Zahn, director of communications for the Family Leader organization.
Some supporters of the fetal heartbeat abortion law previously said they wanted it to provide the opportunity to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision. "It's long overdue that America looked at the evidence and recognized that the little child in her mother's womb ... she's a baby". Brenna Smith, the press secretary for the Iowa governor's office, said they will instead be represented by the conservative, anti-abortion law firm Thomas More Society "at no cost to taxpayers". Reynolds, who signed Iowa's ban earlier this month, said at a public event in Davenport that she felt "very confident" about defending the lawsuit.
The law does have a few exceptions, but the ACLU of Iowa says they're "so narrow and vague that they fail to protect women in extremely vulnerable or risky circumstances". If a heartbeat is detected, a physician could not perform an abortion except in cases of rape, incest and fetal abnormality.
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There are some exceptions in the law. Earlier versions had called for felony charges against doctors but not women seeking an abortion. Some Iowa Republicans have gone even further, saying they hoped the law would be challenged as a route toward a Supreme Court case that could overturn Roe v. Wade.
It bans abortions after a heart beat is detected from an ultrasound, which typically occurs around six weeks into a pregnancy.
Jill Meadows, medical director of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and a co-plaintiff in the lawsuit, said it is important that the law not go into effect: "Abortion care must remain safe and legal as an important part of basic reproductive health care".
"It's a law that has been passed by politicians who are out of touch with the reality of women's lives", Thompson said. "This law must be struck down".
The ban, approved by the state's Republican-controlled legislature and signed into law May 4, bars abortions when a fetal heartbeat is present. The Iowa Supreme Court has yet to issue an opinion in that case.