Iowa Supreme Court blocks new waiting period for abortions

Terry Branstad signed three bills Friday dealing with abortion, voter identification and medical malpractice, capping a remarkable legislative session in which Republicans pushed through a host of conservative measures.

The law Branstad signed "requires that women in the state make an additional and medically unnecessary trip to a health center to have an ultrasound and be given certain state-mandated information regarding the abortion procedure, at least 72 hours before they can obtain abortions", according to documents filed by challenging attorneys. The group appealed, and the Iowa Supreme Court's ruling followed.

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. He said the ACLU failed to show how the new law would create an undue burden for women seeking abortions.

On Thursday, Polk County Judge Jeffrey Farrell denied Planned Parenthood's request for a temporary injunction against the law.

Iowa joined five other states with 72-hour requirements, the longest in the country.

Branstad announced Friday that he'd sign the bill Tuesday despite arguments from opponents that expanding fireworks sales would lead to more injuries and property damage.

Beside the waiting period, it would outlaw most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and wouldn't allow exceptions for rape, incest or fatal fetal anomalies.

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In signing the medical malpractice bill into law, Branstad said the move would add predictability to the medical field and attract more professionals to Iowa.

This is a very temporary injunction.

"One woman had driven seven hours to her appointment, only to be told she couldn't have the procedure today; others were angry and upset at the intrusion into their lives", she said. "Our staff had to call some patients back who had just been told they would be unable to have a procedure today".

Iowa Solicitor General Jeffrey Thompson argued on behalf of the state that "there is not a constitutional right to an abortion on demand".

Gov. Branstad's office did not immediate respond to a request for comment Friday afternoon.

"We have women who are scheduled to be at the clinic tomorrow", Clapman said.

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