ACLU of Iowa sues over governor’s orders to suspend surgical abortions

(The Center Square) – The ACLU of Iowa and Planned Parenthood Federation of America filed a lawsuit Monday challenging Gov. Kim Reynolds’ disaster proclamation, which suspended nonessential or elective surgeries through April 16.

The lawsuit, filed in Johnson County District Court, asks the court to block the proclamation as it applies to abortions.

“The state’s singling out of abortion in this manner during the public health crisis is profoundly harmful to Iowa women, and can’t be justified from a public health perspective,” ACLU of Iowa Legal Director Rita Bettis Austen said in a statement. “Abortion is an essential, time-sensitive, and constitutionally protected medical procedure. This move follows the state’s numerous prior efforts to ban abortion in Iowa and make abortion more difficult and costly to obtain, all of which, like this decision, have been completely unjustified medically and have been blocked by the courts as unconstitutional. This is the worst time for it to try again.”

Reynolds issued the proclamation last week. She told the Des Moines Register that it included “surgical abortion procedures.”

Later, she said the decision was based on data in the same way that other decisions related to COVID-19 were made.

“And so this is a decision that we’re making on a daily basis, and that was no different,” she said Sunday.

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