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Iowa's abortion ban on "fetal heartbeat" was declared unconstitutional



(Reuters) – Iowa's "Fetal Heartbeat" Act, the most restrictive abortion ban in the United States, was declared unconstitutional on Tuesday as it violated the Iowa Constitution, a state judge ruled.

On the 18th March for Life in Washington, USA, on January 18, 2019, marchers gather for abortion trials in the Supreme Court. REUTERS / Joshua Roberts

The Republican-controlled legislature of Iowa issued a restriction in May 2018 following a fetal heartbeat, often after six weeks and before a woman realizes that she is pregnant.

In the judgment published online, District Judge Michael Huppert wrote: "It is undisputed that such a cardiac activity is detectable well before the onset of the fetus."

A fetus that is viable after 24 weeks outside the uterus is considered to be the threshold in the United States generally as a prohibition of abortion.

The District Court's decision is a victory for supporters of abortion rights, but anti-abortionists have pledged to fight the Iowa appeals courts, the Des Moines Register and other media.

The legislation aims to Roe v. Wade, questioning the landmark ruling of the US Supreme Court from 1973, which found that women have a constitutional right to abortion, so activists on both sides of the problem previously told Reuters.

Senate Janet Petersen of Des Moines, chairman of the Iowa Senate Democrats, praised the state of Iowa verdict.

"The extreme law should have been lifted because it restricted the freedom of women and girls in Iowa to take care of their bodies, and it forced them to motherhood," she told the registry. "The governor and legislative republicans should stop attacking women's health care."

The ultimate goal, abortion opponents have reported several media, is to bring the case before the US Supreme Court, which has become more conservative under President Donald Trump.

When the Law of Iowa was first passed, Republican Senator Rick Bertand of Sioux City told Reuters, "We created the opportunity to run Roe v. Wade – 100 percent."

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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