Planned Parenthood Loses Request For Emergency Injunction; Will Appeal To Iowa Supreme Court

May 4, 2017

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland is appealing to the Iowa Supreme Court for an injunction to stop new abortion restrictions from going into effect tomorrow morning. At about 8:30, upon Gov. Terry Branstad’s signature, a new law will be enacted that mandates a 72-hour waiting period between two appointments before a woman receives an abortion.

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland says this law creates an undue burden, which is unconstitutional under the 1992 Casey decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. They asked for an emergency injunction, but District Court Judge Jeffery Farrell says while waiting three days is a burden, he’s not sure it’s an undue burden.

"It’s also possible that the Iowa Supreme Court might look at the standard differently," said Ferrell, in his bench ruling. 

Iowa ACLU attorney Rita Bettis, who's helping represent Planned Parenthood, said she plans to appeal to the state's high court.

The Casey case struck down the need for a woman to notify her husband before having an abortion, calling it an undue burden. But the court allowed the state of Pennsylvania to require a 24-hour waiting period before the procedure.

Planned Parenthood argues that the burden is greater with the Iowa law, due to waiting period being three days instead of one. The organization also notes that since Casey was enacted, the number of abortion providers has declined, which therefore makes the law particularly burdensome to rural and low income women who have to travel or take off time from work to obtain an abortion.

Solicitor General Jeffery Thompson said while some women who seek abortions do face burdens, these burdens are created by society not the law. 

Planned Parenthood says the appointments for 44 women who are seeking abortions will be postponed and rescheduled in light of Farrell's ruling.