Groups sue to block abortion ban; Iowa AG won't defend law (updated)

UPDATE: Have added the plaintiffs’ court filings at the end of this post.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, and the Iowa City-based Emma Goldman Clinic filed suit today to block the new state ban on almost all abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected. I enclose below the full statement from the groups and will post the court filing once that document becomes available. The Polk County District Court is certain to put a stay on Senate File 359 (which would have taken effect July 1) while litigation is pending.

Attorney General Tom Miller “has disqualified himself from representing the state” in this case, Solicitor General Jeffrey Thompson informed Iowa’s Executive Council today. Miller took that step after determining “he could not zealously assert the state’s position because of his core belief that the statute, if upheld, would undermine rights and protections for women.” The attorney general recommends that the Executive Council authorize the Thomas More Society to defend the law. That conservative group has offered its legal services at no cost to the state.

Miller’s decision is telling, because a few years ago, the Iowa Attorney General’s office defended the state administrative rule seeking to ban the use of telemedicine to provide medical abortions at Planned Parenthood clinics around the state. The Iowa Supreme Court unanimously found that policy created an “undue burden” for women seeking an abortion. You can read that decision in full here.

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When someone tried to plant a false story in the Des Moines Register

A year ago today, Des Moines Register public affairs reporter William Petroski reached out to the Iowa Attorney General’s office, seeking to confirm a tip from a “really good source.”

The story never made it into the paper, because it didn’t check out. Odds are the misinformation came from someone close to then Governor Terry Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds.

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A close look at a proposed Iowa constitutional amendment

Marty Ryan is a nearly retired lobbyist after 27 Iowa legislative sessions. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Lawmakers have introduced a glut of proposed amendments to Iowa’s Constitution in the legislature this year. So far, only two have survived. House Joint Resolution 2009 would guarantee the right to bear arms. Both chambers would have to pass identical language during the Eighty-Eighth General Assembly (2019-2020) in order to put that amendment on the November 2020 ballot for Iowans to approve or disapprove.

The other proposal is Senate Joint Resolution 2006, which would change the procedure for who succeeds the governor in case of death, resignation, impeachment, or inability to carry out the duties of governor. It also redefines the procedure for accomplishing that transition.

Reading the legalese of the legislative document will have you bored to death, confused, or excited to solve it like a New York Times Sunday Crossword Puzzle.

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Kim Reynolds quietly signed unconstitutional immigration bill

Governor Kim Reynolds has signed a bill designed to force Iowa police and sheriffs to assist with federal immigration enforcement.

In so doing, she undermined public safety and constitutional rights against unreasonable searches and seizures–not only for those living in Iowa without legal authorization, but also for immigrants who are lawfully present or even U.S. citizens.

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