Iowa Supreme Court temporarily halts state 72-hour abortion waiting period

Louisiana court

Less than two hours after Iowa Governor Terry Branstad signed a law requiring a 72-hour waiting period for abortions along with a ban on abortions after 20 weeks gestation, the Iowa Supreme Court issued an injunction against the waiting period portion of the law until Monday, May 8.

According to KTVO.com, the injunction was issued after “a decision Thursday by a lower court judge who denied a request by Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa to block elements of the abortion restriction before Branstad[] signed the measure.”

ACLU-Iowa’s legal director, Rita Bettis, told the Des Moines Register that the injunction “immediately and temporarily blocks the challenged provisions of the law; the 72-hour minimum waiting period and medically unnecessary additional appointment.”

The Register also notes that prior to the state Supreme Court’s intervention, “Judge Farrell said Planned Parenthood and ACLU-Iowa faced a high standard in making their case that the three-day waiting period is unconstitutional and creates an undue burden on Iowa women seeking an abortion,” citing “a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court decision in a Pennsylvania case that considered a 24-hour waiting period for abortions” in which the “court concluded that the state may enact regulations to further the health or safety of a woman seeking an abortion.The court accepted that a waiting period may impose some burden but did not find it presented an undue burden.”

Iowa pro-life groups have praised the law, saying a 20-week ban “will actually save lives.”

In signing the law earlier today, Governor Branstad noted that “The pro-life movement is making significant strides in changing the hearts and minds of Iowans to return to a culture that once again respects human life.”

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