On Tuesday, April 11, oral arguments were heard by the Iowa Supreme Court in the case of Planned Parenthood vs. Reynolds regarding abortion restriction. This important case involves the heartbeat law passed by the Iowa Legislature and signed by Governor Reynolds in 2018. The heartbeat law banned killing little boys and girls in the womb if a heartbeat was detectable. Sadly, the law was immediately enjoined by the court not allowing it to be enforced.

Christopher P. Schandevel, argued that the Iowa Supreme Court has the authority to lift the injunction because of two substantial law changes including the Dobbs decision in federal court and a reversal decision made by the Iowa Supreme Court finding there is no fundamental right to killing little children before birth within the Iowa Constitution. You can read more about the case and watch oral arguments at: https://www.iowacourts.gov/iowa-courts/supreme-court/supreme-court-oral-argument-schedule/case/22-2036

Tuesday morning’s focus was on two major aspects of this case.

  1. The procedure of lifting an injunction. Specifically, when is the court allowed to do so?
  2. What is the Supreme Court’s opinion on the standard that shall be used when considering restrictions on the killing of babies in the womb in Iowa – rational basis or undue burden? The court’s opinion is expected to be made this summer.

The undue burden standard states that a legislature cannot make a particular law that is too burdensome or restrictive of one’s fundamental rights. This is why the U.S. Supreme Court Dobbs Abortion case and overturn of Roe v. Wade is of massive importance affirming there is no constitutional right to abortion. However, using undue burden as the standard poses future risk for future laws protecting little boys and girls in the womb.

If rational basis is selected as the standard, the law must present a legitimate state interest (i.e., respect for and preservation of prenatal life at all states of development, preservation of the integrity of the medical profession, the mitigation of fetal pain, etc.), and there must be a rational connection between the law’s means and goals.

What can you do? Pray.

  1. First, pray that the injunction against the heartbeat law is lifted. This will allow Iowa to ban the killing of little boys and girls in the womb after a heartbeat is detectable – approximately 6 weeks gestation.
  2. Second, pray that the standard for current and future abortion restriction laws will be rational basis. This would allow us to uphold and put in place additional laws protecting the littlest Iowans before birth.

Learn more about other critical life issues in Iowa HERE.

Kim Laube
Deputy Director
Lutheran Family Service

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