Nation's most restrictive abortion law is challenged in Iowa

Iowa faces lawsuit over its abortion ban — and the Democratic AG refuses to defend the state

Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on Tuesday sued to overturn the new law, which requires abortion providers to conduct a test to determine if a heartbeat is present. The law is slated to take effect July 1. Litigation could take years.

Attorney General Tom Miller's office sent a letter to the state legislature saying Miller was disqualifying himself due to the "determination that he could not zealously assert the state's position because of his core belief that the statute, if upheld, would undermine rights and protections for women".

Miller's office recommended that the Thomas More Society, a pro-life legal firm, defend the law in court. The firm had no immediate comment.

The abortion-rights groups declined to make the legal documents public until the court clerk filed and stamped official copies.

The lawsuit names Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Board of Medicine as defendants.

"We feel very confident moving forward with it, and so it's important that, first of all, this is about life, it's about protecting life and that's first and foremost the priority, and we have somebody that has agreed to represent us and do it at no cost to the taxpayers", Reynolds said.

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"Iowa will not go back in time by taking away this right", said Planned Parenthood of the Heartland president Suzanna de Baca.

Pro-life lawmakers expected the legal challenge, and expressed hopes that the law eventually could lead to the reversal of Roe v. Wade.

Well, Iowa, of course, as you just reported, I mean, this is one of the most extreme abortion bans in the country.

Anti-abortion advocates were particularly frustrated when Congress passed a spending bill earlier this year that left out a measure defunding Planned Parenthood after the GOP and Democrats negotiated a compromise to avoid a government shutdown. It was signed by Mississippi's Republican governor and quickly put on hold after a court challenge. Last year, they approved a 20-week abortion ban and required women to wait three days before they could have an abortion.

A US appeals court has refused to dismiss a lawsuit by Planned Parenthood over videos that a group says show employees of the organization illegally selling parts of aborted fetuses.

Iowa Republicans past year also gave up millions in federal dollars to create a state-funded family planning program that prohibits participation from abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood.

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