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Iowa law requiring 24-hour wait to get an abortion is unconstitutional, judge rules

A Johnson County court ruled that mandating a 24-hour waiting period for abortions violates the state constitution.

JOHNSON COUNTY, Iowa — An Iowa judge has blocked a state law that would have imposed a 24-hour waiting period before women could get abortions, likely setting up a legal battle before the state Supreme Court. 

"By imposing these medically unnecessary, onerous, and harmful requirements, the Amendment unlawfully violates the rights of Petitioners, their patients, and all Iowans under the Iowa Constitution," Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and Dr. Jill Meadows argued.

Judge Mitchell Turner ruled in favor of the petitioners, Planned Parenthood and Jill Meadows, M.D., Monday. Turner found that because legislators passed the law last year as an amendment to an unrelated bill, it violated the Iowa Constitution’s single-subject rule, which requires amendments and bills to naturally relate to one another.

"The Court finds the Amendment was clearly logrolled with other legislation, since the Amendment was attached to a non-controversial provision regarding withdrawal of life-sustaining procedures from a minor child," Turner wrote.

Furthermore, he found that the law also ran afoul of a 2018 Iowa Supreme Court decision that protects abortion rights. 

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“In a court ruling issued yesterday, an Iowa District Court wrongly struck down our efforts to protect all innocent human life,” Gov. Kim Reynolds said in a statement.

Abortion rights advocates celebrated the ruling, saying it would preserve women’s access to the procedure.

A spokeswoman for the state attorney general's office said the state expects to appeal.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Read the full ruling below

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