Governor says it’s time for Iowa Supreme Court to uphold ‘fetal heartbeat’ law

DES MOINES — Iowa’s attorney general has filed a legal brief asking the state’s Supreme Court to let a so-called “fetal heartbeat” law go into effect.

Wednesday’s filing comes less than 24 hours after voters in Republican-leaning Ohio ratified a constitutional amendment to guarantee abortion access. Governor Kim Reynolds says she won her 2018 race after signing the bill to ban most abortions after the sixth week of a pregnancy when fetal activity typically can be detected. The governor’s legal counsel worked with the attorney general on the brief that argues the law should go into effect.

“I’m very excited about that,” Reynolds says. “That’s what we’ve been working for for a long time. You know we passed that bill in 2018 and it’s been tied up in the courts ever since.”

In 2019, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled the bill was unconstitutional. Since then, Reynolds has appointed five of the court’s seven justices. After the U-S Supreme Court’s ruling that overturned Roe v Wade, Reynolds asked the Iowa Supreme Court to let that 2018 law go into effect, but the Iowa court, in a tie vote, kept an injunction in place preventing the six-week abortion ban from going into effect. Reynolds says it’s time for the court to uphold the law once and for all.

“We didn’t get the news we wanted and so we went back in special session and passed it by an even larger margin,” Reynolds says. “…I’m pro-life, there’s no question about that, and we hope we can get that injunction lifted and move forward.”

Iowa Democratic Party chair Rita Hart says a law banning abortion at six weeks is not what “a rapidly growing majority of Iowans want” and Democrats will stand up to Republicans on the abortion issue.