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Judge Strikes Down Iowa 6-Week Abortion Ban

A judge quashed a law Tuesday barring women from having abortions upon the presence of a fetal heartbeat, ruling that the law is unconstitutional.

Judge Michael Huppert prohibited the state from enforcing its “Fetal Heartbeat Bill,” banning abortions upon the detection of a fetal heartbeat. A heartbeat typically manifests roughly six weeks into a pregnancy. The law provided exceptions for rape, incest, and fatal fetal abnormalities.

The law is contrary to “both the due process and equal protection provisions of the Iowa Constitution as not being narrowly tailored to serve the compelling state interest of promoting potential life,” Huppert ruled, according to Fox News.

Iowa first passed its “Fetal Heartbeat Bill” in May. The legislation also banned the sale of all fetal tissue in the state.

Huppert’s ruling fell on the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, a decision that gave women the constitutional right to an abortion under the 14th Amendment. The ruling extended the right to abort up to the point of fetal “viability,” a slippery term that continues to foster debate as neonatal care advances.

The ruling comes after a judge placed a temporary injunction on the law in June following a Planned Parenthood and American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) lawsuit against Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Board of Medicine. The groups alleged that the law was cruel and reckless in their suit.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s press secretary applauded the strike down in a tweet Tuesday.

Arkansas and North Dakota passed similar heartbeat abortion bans, but have faced injunctions and court orders preventing them from enforcing the bans.

South Carolina nearly passed a law banning all abortions except those performed in the case of rape, incest and to save the mother’s life, but the bill died in the state’s Senate.

Seventy-five percent of Americans support significant abortion restrictions and say abortion should not be legal after a woman is three months pregnant, according to a Jan. 15 Marist Poll. Nearly 60 percent of Americans support banning abortion after 20 weeks except to save the life of the mother, according to the poll.

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