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Justice Wiggins Blocks Historic Pro-Life Bill

Governor Branstad signs bill banning abortions after 20 weeks


DES MOINES, Iowa-Pro-life supporters gathered at the Capitol on Friday as Governor Branstad signed SF 471 into law, a bill that bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.  The bill also requires abortion providers to inform women of alternative options to abortion, to provide an opportunity to view an ultrasound of their baby, and introduces a 72 hour waiting period before continuing with the abortion.  The bill was introduced in the Senate by Senator Mark Costello (R, Imogene) and in the House by Representative Shannon Lundgren (R, Peosta).  Branstad provided remarks before signing the bill.

     “The pro-life movement is making significant strides.  Women will now be empowered.  They will have an opportunity to have an ultrasound and hear their unborn child’s heartbeat.  Information regarding adoption and social services will be provided upon request.  This bill ensures that a doctor gives a patient 72 hours before making an irreversible decision.  In addition, Iowa will join 15 other states that have outlawed abortion 20 weeks post-fertilization.  I want to thank the floor managers of this bill, Senator Costello and Representative Lundgren for all your hard work on this bill of great importance.  It is a great privilege for me to sign this bill.”

Yesterday a Polk County Judge denied an injunction requested by Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and the ACLU because he determined that the law was not likely to be successful. The groups appealed to the Iowa Supreme Court and hours after the bill was signed into law, Justice David Wiggins granted their request. Wiggins survived a 2012 campaign to oust him from the state’s top court two years after a 2010 campaign successfully removed his peers.


MacKenzie Dreeszen is a legislative assistant in the Iowa House and a political consultant specializing in fundraising.