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Strict abortion law confirmed in Iowa

In the US state of Iowa, the Supreme Court has declared a strict abortion law to be legal. This means that most abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy are now prohibited. The decision is a victory for the Republicans.

In the middle of the US election campaign, the Iowa Supreme Court has upheld the state's strict abortion ban. In a narrow decision of four to three votes, the court lifted a temporary injunction and ordered the ban on abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy to come into force.

The instructions to the lower court will be formally transmitted in 21 days. For now, abortions up to the 20th week of pregnancy will remain legal in Iowa.

Only a few exceptions allowed

The majority of the panel argued that there is no constitutional right to abortion. Nor can such a right be derived from Iowa's history and traditions. “The state's interest in protecting the unborn can be traced back to Iowa's earliest days,” wrote Justice Matthew McDermott.

Justice Susan Christensen countered that “the majority's rigid approach relies heavily on the male-dominated history and traditions of the 1800s.” It ignores “how far women's rights have come.”

Last year, a judge in Iowa issued a temporary restraining order against the state's new strict law following a lawsuit filed by the influential counseling organization Planned Parenthood. The only exceptions to the ban are cases of rape or incest and medical emergencies that endanger the life of the mother.

Central issue in the election campaign

The decision is a victory for the Republican representatives. Abortion rights are one of the central issues in the current US election campaign. Iowa joins many conservative US states that have enacted restrictive laws against abortion.

After the conservative-dominated Supreme Court overturned a historic 1973 ruling legalizing abortion in 2022, jurisdiction over abortion law lies with the individual states.

As a result, around 20 states restricted access to abortion or banned abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy, including Florida, South Carolina and Iowa. However, women often do not even know they are pregnant in the first six weeks.

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