Iowa district judge Jeffrey Farrell ruled this week that the state’s recently-enacted 72-hour abortion waiting period is constitutional, because it does not place an “undue burden” on women seeking abortion.
Farrell wrote in his ruling, “There is no question that the second trip will have some impact on low-income women and those who have to drive longer distances. However, the fact that there is some burden is not dispositive if the act does not place a substantial obstacle in the way of women getting an abortion.”
Challenging the law are Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and the ACLU of Iowa, who have vowed to appeal the judge’s ruling to the Iowa Supreme Court. According to The Globe Gazette, “Twenty-seven other states already have enacted waiting periods, according to information from the Guttmacher Institute… though Iowa joins only a handful of states that have extended that time frame to three days.”
LifeSiteNews notes that “[t]he law… also bans abortions on pain-capable pre-borns after 20 weeks’ gestation. It also requires an ultrasound to accurately determine gestational age and gives women the choice of seeing and/or hearing the ultrasound.” Planned Parenthood and the ACLU have called the law “malicious” and “anti-woman,” according to LifeSite.
In May 2017, the Iowa Supreme Court intervened at the request of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and the ACLU, issuing a temporary injunction against the waiting period, after Farrell declined to issue an injunction.
LifeSiteNews points out Farrell’s history of ruling against the abortion industry. However, in a previous decision, the state Supreme Court sided with the industry over women’s safety. “Farrell had previously ruled in favor of a state Board of Medicine case that disallowed ‘telemed’ abortions,” LifeSite writes, “but his support was overruled by the Iowa Supreme Court.”