Iowa fetal heartbeat abortion law struck down in state court

Iowa fetal heartbeat abortion law struck down in state court
The Iowa Supreme Court struck down an abortion law requiring a 72-hour waiting period last year. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

DES MOINES, IA (AP) - A state judge has struck down Iowa’s restrictive “fetal heartbeat” abortion law.

Judge Michael Huppert on Tuesday found the law unconstitutional.

He concluded that the Iowa Supreme Court’s earlier decisions that affirm a woman’s fundamental right to an abortion would invalidate the new law passed last year. He cited one decision from last year that struck down a 72-hour abortion waiting period.

“Implicit in the concept of ordered liberty, we recognize today, is the ability to decide whether to terminate a pregnancy,” the state supreme court ruled in a 5-2 decision last year.

The law that Huppert ruled on would ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected. That can happen as early as six weeks into pregnancy.

It would have been the most restrictive anti-abortion law in the nation.

But the legal challenge by abortion providers Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and the Emma Goldman Clinic had halted it from taking effect last July.

Supporters of the law are likely to ask the Iowa Supreme Court to hear an appeal of Huppert’s ruling.

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