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Gov. Reynolds will ask Iowa Supreme Court to allow state fetal heartbeat law to take effect

ADF attorneys represent Gov. Reynolds
Abortion advocates have long relied on verbal sleight of hand to mask the reality that abortion is a violent act that kills an unborn child.

DES MOINES, Iowa – Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing Gov. Kim Reynolds filed a notice of appeal and a motion to expedite to the Iowa Supreme Court on Tuesday after a state court denied the governor’s motion to lift a 2019 injunction preventing the governor from enforcing the state’s fetal heartbeat law.

That law was enacted in 2018 to protect unborn lives by prohibiting elective abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. In the lawsuit filed later that year, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland v. Reynolds, a state court put the law on hold based on a case that had found a state constitutional right to an abortion. Earlier this year, ADF attorneys helped persuade the Iowa Supreme Court to overturn that case, so Reynolds is now taking the logical next step and asking the court to lift the injunction.

“Iowa is eager to affirm that life is a human right, and we’re ready to ask the state’s high court to allow this duly enacted law to take effect and help save the lives of countless unborn children,” said ADF Senior Counsel Chris Schandevel, who argued before the Iowa District Court for Polk County on behalf of Reynolds. “That court has already made clear that abortion is not a fundamental right. And we’re pleased to represent Gov. Reynolds to defend the state’s reasonable efforts to protect unborn life while ensuring that women and families have the real support they need when facing unplanned pregnancies.”

“Pro-life laws like Iowa’s fetal heartbeat law not only protect the lives of the unborn, they also protect the dignity and health of women—providing real support and health care during a vulnerable time,” said ADF Senior Counsel Denise Harle, director of the ADF Center for Life. “We urge the Iowa Supreme Court to lift the injunction on this law and help defend the most fundamental of our human rights: the right to life. ADF remains committed to continuing our crucial efforts promoting life-affirming laws for mothers and children across the country.”

Earlier this year, the Iowa Supreme Court overturned its 2018 opinion that had found a state constitutional right to an abortion, and the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. In the brief ADF attorneys filed with the district court in August on the governor’s behalf, they explained that those decisions removed all legal barriers to implementing Iowa’s fetal heartbeat law.

Iowa’s fetal heartbeat law contains exceptions for medical emergencies, including threats to the mother’s life and serious risk of bodily harm, and for cases of rape, incest, and fetal abnormality.

  • Pronunciation guide: Schandevel (SHAN’-deh-vell); (Harle (HAR'-lee)

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.

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Chris Schandevel
Chris Schandevel
Senior Counsel
Chris Schandevel serves as legal counsel on Alliance Defending Freedom’s Appellate Advocacy Team.