Late last week, Iowa governor Terry Branstad approved a bill — the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act — that, among other provisions, prohibits abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy.
Just hours after Branstad signed the measure, however, Iowa’s branch of the ACLU and Planned Parenthood’s Heartland affiliate requested a temporary injunction against the bill’s 72-hour waiting period for women seeking an abortion. The injunction was granted by the state Supreme Court after having been denied by a district judge.
Several media outlets — along with the ACLU and Planned Parenthood — have falsely claimed that the bill imposes an additional requirement that women schedule two appointments before receiving an abortion. In reality, the bill contains no such provision; the two appointments are a natural byproduct of the 72-hour waiting period, which requires a woman to leave the clinic and return three days later for the procedure.
This injunction does not affect the 20-week ban. The Iowa Supreme Court began considering today whether it will lift the injunction or make it permanent. Regardless of the outcome on the injunction, Iowa is now the 20th state with a ban on abortions after the fifth month of pregnancy, restrictions enacted based on new research showing that unborn children can begin to feel pain around that time.