BREAKING: Iowa Fetal Heartbeat Law Will Not Go Into Effect

(Des Moines, IA) -- A court ruling that stops the Iowa fetal heartbeat law from going into effect will stand.

The Iowa State Supreme Court was evenly divided on an appeal to overturn the lower court ruling. That means the law that would have effectively banned abortion at six weeks in Iowa will not be allowed to go into effect.

The current law in Iowa allows abortions up to 20 weeks.

The governor could call a special session of the legislature to rewrite the failed fetal heartbeat law, which bans abortion in most cases once a heartbeat can be detected. That is generally about six weeks into a pregnancy.

Governor Kim Reynolds and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are reacting to the decision:

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds: 

“To say that today’s lack of action by the Iowa Supreme Court is a disappointment is an understatement. Not only does it disregard Iowa voters who elected representatives willing to stand up for the rights of unborn children, but it has sided with a single judge in a single county who struck down Iowa’s legislation based on principles that now have been flat-out rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court. There is no fundamental right to abortion and any law restricting it should be reviewed on a rational basis standard – a fact acknowledged today by three of the justices.  Still, without an affirmative decision, there is no justice for the unborn. 

 “But the fight is not over. There is no right more sacred than life, and nothing more worthy of our strongest defense than the innocent unborn. We are reviewing our options in preparation for continuing the fight.” 

Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver: 

“I disagree with the Supreme Court’s opinion today. Their decision a year ago, correctly overturning the 2018 decision, should reasonably be considered a substantial change in the law and the injunction should have been lifted. Senate Republicans have a consistent record of defending life, including the passage of the Heartbeat Bill. We will work with Governor Reynolds and the House to advance pro-life policies to protect the unborn.” 

 Speaker of the House Pat Grassley:

I’m extremely disappointed in the Supreme Court’s opinion today. We feel strongly that the Heartbeat Bill is a good piece of legislation that would save the innocent lives of unborn children. Going forward we will work together to pass legislation that will protect life, support new mothers, and promote strong families in Iowa.” 

Senator Sarah Trone Garriott, the ranking member on the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and the Democratic Whip:

 “Following today's 3-3 Iowa Supreme Court decision, abortion remains safe and legal in Iowa – despite repeated attempts from Gov. Reynolds to enforce a near total abortion ban in the state. “But the fight is not over. While Iowa's courts have stood up for our rights based on the state constitution, a small group of extreme, anti-choice Republican politicians are still seeking to change both the courts and the constitution.  “With the overturning of Roe v. Wade, our rights are at risk. We fully expect a new attack on reproductive rights — perhaps from Gov. Reynolds calling an unprecedented special session in the next few months. “Senate Democrats stand with the majority of Iowans who support safe and legal access to abortion. Now is the time to defend our rights. Tell your legislators that you refuse further attacks on abortion rights. Raise your voice, and rally your friends and neighbors to do the same. We must hold elected leaders accountable to the will of the people."

Statement from House Democratic Leader Jennifer Konfrst on Iowa Supreme Court Ruling

“Today’s ruling from the Iowa Supreme Court means Iowans still have the reproductive freedom they want and deserve.

It’s simple: people over politics. Politicians and judges have no place interfering in someone else’s decision about when to start a family. These decisions are deeply personal and the ability to make our own health care decisions is fundamental to our rights as individuals. 

This should be a wake-up call for the Governor and GOP lawmakers to start listening to Iowans, not just the special interests. 

Here’s the one truth that gives me hope and that Republicans refuse to acknowledge: an overwhelming majority of Iowans believe everyone deserves the right to make their own health care decisions, especially when it comes to reproductive care and abortion. 

While today’s ruling is a victory, I know the fight for reproductive freedom is far from over. Governor Reynolds and Republican politicians will never stop playing politics to strip away our rights.

I’ll never stop fighting to protect the reproductive freedom of Iowans and put the Iowa people over politics.” 

Maggie DeWittie , Executive Director of Pulse for Life (formerly Iowans for Life)

Today's ruling is profoundly disappointing to say the least. Lawmaking is the job of our elected reps and not unelected judges. Our duly elected representatives already passed the heartbeat bill in 2018 so we've been waiting a long time to have this decision enacted and enforced and I think the people of Iowa have spoken loud and clear by voting in a pro-life governor and pro-life lawmakers that the will of the people in Iowa is pro-life and they want to see innocent life in the womb protected.

Today's ruling will result in more children killed and more women wounded and delays the time that all innocent human life is cherished here in Iowa.

We're real hopeful that even though this is an extremely disappointing decision today, it will embolden our governor and our leaders to move forward and move forward quickly to pass another life bill to protect innocent life in Iowa.

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