Victory for Iowa Mothers and Babies with 3-Day Abortion Waiting Period Upheld
On October 4, 2017, a Polk County, Iowa, district court handed mothers, babies and pro-life advocates a victory this week over abortion providers and supporters. The Thomas More Society applauds Judge Jeffrey Farrell’s denial of a requested injunction by Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union, who sought to tear down Iowa’s 72-hour waiting period for abortions.
Last May, former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad signed into law a bill by which lawmakers opted to provide expectant mothers a three-day period between seeking and obtaining an abortion rather than delivering them on-demand. The legislation also included a statewide 20-week abortion ban and a requirement to offer pregnant women a chance to view their baby’s ultrasound images. On October 2, 2017, Judge Farrell ruled this law to be constitutional.
Thomas More Society attorney Martin Cannon was on hand when the legislation, known as the Fetal Pain Bill, was signed. He and his Thomas More Society colleagues helped draft the original bill, advised legislators and informed the public.
“Those who hold a life-affirming worldview can celebrate this decision,” stated Cannon. “It has been proven that many expectant women, given an opportunity to reflect on an abortion decision, choose life for their baby. This is also the case for most mothers who are fully informed about their child’s development in utero and have an opportunity to view their baby’s ultrasound image.”
In Farrell’s refusal to block the law, he wrote that it, “Fairly balances the two competing interests of a woman’s right to choose an abortion versus the public’s interest in potential life. The evidence at trial focused on the hardships women face when dealing with an unwanted pregnancy, but the public’s interest in potential life is an interest that cannot be denied under the law.”