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Court overturns Iowa heartbeat bill


Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (center) signs the heartbeat law in May 2018. Associated Press/Photo by Charlie Neibergall

Court overturns Iowa heartbeat bill

An Iowa judge on Tuesday struck down protections for unborn babies in the state who have detectable heartbeats. The ruling coincided with the 46th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision. Chief District Court Judge Michael Huppert deemed the heartbeat law unconstitutional, saying it violated “both the due process and equal protection provisions of the Iowa Constitution [by] not being narrowly tailored to serve the compelling state interest of promoting potential life.” Gov. Kim Reynolds, a Republican, signed the bill into law in May 2018, but a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and the Emma Goldman Clinic in July halted it from taking effect.

“I am incredibly disappointed in today’s court ruling because I believe that if death is determined when a heart stops beating, then a beating heart indicates life,” Reynolds said in a statement. Doctors can detect heartbeats in unborn babies as soon as six weeks into a pregnancy. Republican state Rep. Sandy Salmon, the main sponsor of the original bill, said she was disappointed the judge did not allow a jury to hear the case and she hoped the state would appeal the ruling to the Iowa Supreme Court.


Alyssa Jackson Alyssa is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute and a former WORLD intern.

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