May 5 Iowa Governor Terry Branstad on Friday
signed into law a 20-week abortion ban that faces a legal
challenge in the Midwestern state's supreme court.
The law, passed by Iowa's Republican-controlled House and
Senate last month, bans abortions once a pregnancy reaches 20
weeks and stipulates a three-day waiting period before women can
undergo any abortion.
The law does not make exceptions for instances of rape or
incest but does allow for abortions if the mother's life or
health is at risk.
"We have made some real progress this year by getting
legislation passed that institutes the first 20-week abortion
ban, and also establishes a three-day waiting period for women
who seek an abortion," Ben Hammes, a spokesman for Branstad, a
Republican, said on Friday.
"The pro-life movement is making tremendous strides in
changing the hearts and minds, to return to a culture that once
again respects human life."
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Planned
Parenthood, a group that provides family planning services,
including abortions, challenged the waiting-period portion of
the law in district court on Thursday, seeking an injunction,
but a judge ruled against them.
The judge made the "right decision," in dismissing the
injunction, Hammes said.
The groups have appealed the ruling to the Iowa Supreme
Court, Veronica Fowler, a spokeswoman for the ACLU of Iowa, said
Fowler declined to comment further, but on Thursday the ACLU
said Iowa lawmakers and Branstad were putting politics ahead of
"It's disgraceful that extremist lawmakers and the
politically driven Governor Branstad are willing to put women's
lives on the line based on personal belief rather than facts,
and the well-being of Iowa women," Rita Bettis, legal director
of the ACLU of Iowa, said in a Thursday statement.
Women in the United States have the right under the
Constitution to end a pregnancy, but abortion opponents have
pushed for tougher regulations, particularly in conservative
There are 24 states that impose prohibitions on abortions
after a certain number of weeks, according to the Guttmacher
Institute, which tracks reproductive policy.
Seventeen of these states ban abortion at about 20 weeks.
In Tennessee, a bill similar to the Iowa measure was sent to
the desk of that state's Republican governor on Wednesday to
possibly be signed into law.
(Reporting by Timothy Mclaughlin in Chicago; Editing by