Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signs a 6-week abortion ban at a conservative summit


DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds signed into law Friday banning abortion for six weeks, launching a new legal battle over the future of reproductive rights in the key presidential battleground state. anticipated and further increased the presence of a divisive issue in the campaign.

Surrounded by a cadre of Republican state legislators and anti-abortion leaders, Reynolds signed the measure during a special presentation onstage at the Family Leadership Summit, a major political gathering hosted by an evangelical Christian group.

The law went into effect at the time Reynolds signed the bill, but it might be short-lived.

Across town, in a Polk County district court, a state judge heard a challenge filed by a group of reproductive rights groups seeking a temporary injunction. If granted, the six-week ban would be blocked while the legal challenge unfolds in the court system.

Iowa District Court Judge Joseph Seidlin said he plans to make a decision on the injunction early next week because, he said, it «requires my strong and prolonged attention.»

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, the Iowa American Civil Liberties Union and the Emma Goldman Clinic, a women’s health care facility in Iowa City, filed the legal challenge in state court Wednesday afternoon. arguing that the new ban violates the Iowa state constitution. Officials for the groups said they hope the case will reach the state Supreme Court.

However, Reynolds, in addition to a parade of Republican presidential candidates, celebrated the signing and predicted that his law would prevail.

«Our work is not done,» Reynolds said. «As we meet here today at this very moment, the abortion industry is in court trying to stop this law from taking effect.»

It includes exceptions for life of the mother, miscarriages, and fetal abnormalities deemed «incompatible with life» by a physician.

The bill also includes exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rape and incest. For those exceptions to apply, the rape must have been reported to law enforcement or a «public or private health agency,» including a family doctor, within 45 days, and the violation must have been reported. incest to any of those officials or entities within a period of 45 days. 140 days

Reproductive rights advocates have said that a six-week ban amounts to a total ban because many women don’t even know they are pregnant that soon.

Reynold’s choice of the location for his signing further cements the role that the divisive issue of abortion rights will play in presidential politics, both in the key early-voting state and across the United States.

Friday’s summit was attended by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, who at various points during the conference praised Mr. Reynolds and his bill.

“We are standing here on a historic day in Iowa,” Pence said during a morning session, before the signing. He praised Reynolds for his plan to enact «historic protections for the unborn.»

Former President Donald Trump, who has been more reluctant to adopt strict abortion bans during the campaign than some of his rivals, skipped the event.

Although support for stricter abortion restrictions remains popular among conservative evangelical Christians, a key voting bloc in Iowa’s Republican caucuses, polls in the stateas well as at the national level, finds that the majority of voters support the right to abortion.

And while siding with a six-week ban might help a candidate in Iowa, it plays out differently in New Hampshire, the upcoming contest in the 2024 primary.

The state’s libertarian-leaning Republican electorate tends to be more open on the issue; Governor Chris Sununu, for example, is among a small list of Republican governors who support abortion rights.

Those rough roads highlight the struggles Republicans, by and large, have endured in speaking to voters about abortion rights in the year since the Supreme Court’s Dobbs ruling struck down Roe v. Wade. Part of the Democrats’ success in the midterms stemmed from their ability to successfully use the abortion issue to attack Republicans.

Reynolds called a special legislative session devoted solely to enacting “pro-life legislation” after the state Supreme Court issued a split decision this month that allowed the six-week abortion ban lawmakers had enacted in 2018 to stand. permanently locked.

Iowa Republicans, who control the Legislature, took just 15 hours Tuesday to pass the new six-week ban.

While the new law already faces the same kinds of legal challenges as the 2018 law, the outcome could be different this time with a full state Supreme Court issuing a decision.

the courts split judgment Last month on that 2018 law was a strictly tailored decision based largely on procedural grounds, meaning it remains possible, if not likely, that a full seven-member court could find legal consensus on a new ban. One of the court’s seven judges, Reynolds appointee Dana Oxley, recused herself because her former law firm represented an abortion clinic that was a plaintiff in the original case.

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