Bird ‘very involved’ in prep for court arguments over Iowa abortion restrictions

JOHNSTON — Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird says she’s involved in developing legal strategy as her office prepares to ask the Iowa Supreme Court to let the state’s new Fetal Heartbeat Act take effect.

“I’ve got a team member that’s working hard on that,” Bird says, “but I’m very involved in that case.”

Bird says there have been big changes in the legal landscape since the U-S Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade last year. “We will be arguing to uphold the heartbeat law in Iowa’s Supreme Court in light of that new case law,” Bird says.

Attorneys from outside groups represented the state when Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union successfully blocked a similar 2018 law from taking effect. The previous Attorney General, Democrat Tom Miller, declined to defend the law in court. Bird, a Republican, defeated Miller in last year’s election. “This time around I am defending Iowa’s laws in court,” Bird said. “I am defending Iowa’s heartbeat law in court as well.”

Governor Reynolds asked the Republican-led legislature to meet earlier this month and pass a bill that bans most abortions when cardiac activity can be detected, typically around the sixth week of a pregnancy. The move came soon after a three-to-three vote among the Iowa Supreme Court justices over whether to lift an injunction that had prevented the 2018 law from taking effect.

“They didn’t actually reach any kind of decision,” Bird says. “…There were some very different procedural issues at issue there.”

Bird made her comment during a weekend appearance on “Iowa Press” on Iowa PBS.