The Latest: Abortion advocates say court action helps women

May 5, 2017 GMT

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Latest on legislation being signed into law by Gov. Terry Branstad (all times local):


1:10 p.m.

Planned Parenthood and ACLU of Iowa are applauding the Iowa Supreme Court’s decision to temporarily halt a 72-hour abortion waiting period soon after Gov. Terry Branstad enacted several restrictions.

The state will have an opportunity to respond to the temporary injunction on Monday. The court will then decide whether to extend the short-term injunction.

Planned Parenthood notes the court’s action Friday allowed 44 women with scheduled abortions to proceed with their appointments. Suzanna de Baca, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, says in a statement that the law had caused confusion for patients.

She says one woman had driven seven hours to her appointment Friday and then was told she couldn’t have the procedure that day. She says women were “angry and upset at the intrusion into their lives.”

Ben Hammes, a spokesman for Branstad, says the state believes the 72-hour wait period will ultimately be implemented.

He calls the court’s injunction “part of the process,” adding that the governor expects the stay will soon be lifted.



12:25 p.m.

The Fourth of July likely will have more sizzle as Gov. Terry Branstad has signaled he’ll sign a bill into law that legalizes the sale of most fireworks in Iowa.

Branstad announced Friday that he’d sign the bill Tuesday despite arguments from opponents that expanding fireworks sales would lead to more injuries and property damage. Supporters responded that residents already bought fireworks in neighboring states and that people were overstating potentials dangers.

After being signed by Branstad, the law will legalize most consumer-grade fireworks, including bottle rockets, firecrackers and roman candles. The explosives could be sold from June 1 through July 8 and from Dec. 10 through Jan. 3 in permanent structures or tents.

Cities could prohibit use of fireworks but not outlaw their sale.

The Legislative Services Agency estimates the law will generate $1.5 million in sales tax revenue for the 2018 fiscal year.


11:40 a.m.

The Iowa Supreme Court has halted enforcement of a 72-hour waiting period required before an abortion under a new state law.

The court’s approval of an injunction Friday came shortly after Gov. Terry Branstad signed the measure into law. The new law also bans most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The injunction remains in effect until Monday, allowing some scheduled abortions to proceed.

The injunction followed a decision Thursday by a lower court judge who denied a request by Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa to block elements of the abortion restriction before Branstad’s signed the measure.

The organizations have argued that a 72-hour waiting period could cause undue harm to women by requiring multiple appointments


9 a.m.

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad has signed three bills dealing with abortion, voter identification and medical malpractice.

The abortion bill signed Friday morning prohibits the procedure in most cases after 20 weeks of pregnancy and requires a 72-hour waiting period. Abortion-rights groups have indicated they will fight the law in the Iowa Supreme Court. Branstad called it a significant stride for the anti-abortion movement.

The voter identification measure requires voters to show ID at polls starting in 2019 and reduces Iowa’s early voting period, which opponents say will suppress turnout. Republicans say it is necessary to protect against voter fraud, while acknowledging the problem is rare.

The medical malpractice law restricts some payouts to patients who win such lawsuits, though juries can override the cap in some instances.