ACLU, Planned Parenthood challenge bill that bans abortions at 20 weeks

By Dave Andrusko

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad

Even before Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad had a chance to sign the measure, the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa and Planned Parenthood filed a suit in Polk County District Court challenging Senate File 471. Judge Jeffrey Farrell will hear their emergency request for a temporary injunction today, according to the Des Moines Register, because Branstad plans to sign the bill Friday at the Iowa Capitol.

Senate File 471 bans most abortions at and after 20 weeks. The bill allows exceptions if the abortionist determines an abortion is necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother.

The bill also requires a three-day waiting period for abortion-minded women. Iowa would join Louisiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Utah in having a three-day waiting period.

In addition the bill “will require a woman seeking an abortion to undergo ultrasound imaging and it provides that the woman be given an opportunity to see an image” of the baby, according to reporter William Petroski. “In addition, the bill requires that a woman be given an option of hearing a description of the unborn child based on the ultrasound image and hearing the heartbeat of the unborn child.”

Attorneys for the ACLU and Planned Parenthood “argue the requirements will deny Iowa women due process and equal protection,” Petroski reported.

Sen. Mark Costello, R-Imogene, who was the floor manager of the Senate bill, responded to news about the lawsuit by saying he believes support for the sanctity of life is more important than any other argument. During Senate floor debate on the bill, he told of placing his hand on his wife’s stomach when she was five months pregnant and how could feel their baby kicking.

“This is a baby that may well survive outside the womb with the proper emergency care, and as we keep getting more technologically advanced it will keep moving that way,” Costello said. “Why kill the baby?”

The bill passed the Iowa Senate 30-10, with all Republicans and one Independent voted for and all Democrats voted against the bill. Earlier in April, the measure passed the House, 55-42.