2015 Ruling Sets Stage For Fetal Heart Beat Bill

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  Iowa's "fetal hearbeat bill" takes effect July 1st, but a hearing one month before could postpone the law indefinitely.

The law would prevent a woman from getting an abortion once a heartbeat is detected.  That could be as soon as six weeks into a pregnancy which is before most women know their pregnant.

The ACLU of Iowa is suing to block the law.  A hearing on their motion for an injunction will be held June 1st.

Attorney General Tom Miller backed out from representing the Governor in the lawsuit due to personal objections to the law.  Instead the state will be represented by Illinois based law firm "The Thomas More Society."  The Governor's office says their work will not cost Iowa taxpayers a dime.

The law faces an uphill battle in the courtroom to remain on the books.  On the surface it appears to violate the Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortion in the US.  Recent history in Iowa courts also doesn't bode well for the law.  In 2015 the state was sued over its restrictions on telemedicine abortion medication prescription.  The Iowa Supreme Court eventually ruled the law unconstitutional.

“That law was less restrictive than this law that was passed so I think the plaintiffs feel very good that the Iowa Supreme Court would allow this bill if they wouldn’t allow the telemedicine abortion ban", attorney Thomas Bullock said.  Bullock says the 2015 Supreme Court ruling sets the stage for the fetal heartbeat bill to be ruled unconstitutional too.

“The standard under the law and the decision of planned parenthood and telemed abortion case is that is has to be protecting a viable fetus I don’t know if they’ll be able to meet that standard," Bullock said.