Iowa Supreme Court agrees to hear appeal over GOP's blocked abortion ban


DES MOINES, Iowa — The Iowa Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to hear Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds’ appeal of a lower court order blocking the state’s ban on abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, which Reynolds signed into law this month.

Republican legislators passed the bill this month in a special legislative session, and Reynolds signed it at the Family Leadership Summit, a major gathering of social conservatives that drew top GOP presidential candidates to Iowa.

“Everyone understands that a heartbeat signifies life, and we understand that when it falls silent, something precious has been lost,” Reynolds said moments before she signed the bill into law.

The six-week ban went into effect as soon as she signed it, but it was halted days later, when a Polk County judge temporarily blocked the law following a legal challenge from Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, the Emma Goldman Clinic and the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa. For now, abortion remains legal in Iowa until the 20th week of pregnancy.

The new law is similar to an earlier six-week ban that Reynolds signed into law in 2018. But that ban, which went into effect after the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade last year, was permanently blocked after a split decision from the state Supreme Court in June, which prompted Reynolds and Iowa Republicans to try again to enact a stricter ban on abortion.

“We remain committed to protecting the right of all Iowans to access abortion care and are prepared to fight for that right before the Iowa Supreme Court,” Ruth Richardson, the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood North Central States, said in a statement.

Reynolds said when the new law was temporarily blocked, “I will never stop fighting to protect our unborn children and to uphold state laws enacted by our elected legislators.”

The law bans most abortions at around six weeks, before many women know they’re pregnant, with exceptions for fetal abnormality, the life of the woman, miscarriage, rape and incest.

“I am glad that the Supreme Court has agreed to hear our appeal. I look forward to continuing to defend the Heartbeat Law and protect the right to life in court,” state Attorney General Brenna Bird said in a statement.