An Iowa judge has moved to temporarily block a new state law banning most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed a six-week abortion ban, which included some exceptions, into law on Friday.
The judge granted a temporary injunction, allowing abortion up to 20 weeks, after providers argued the new law was unconstitutional.
Reynolds said she will appeal the ruling, saying providers were trying to “thwart the will of Iowans”.
She pledged to “fight this all the way to the Iowa Supreme Court where we expect a decision that will finally provide justice for the unborn”.
The bill the Republican governor signed last week blocked most abortions after early signs of cardiac activity is detected in a foetus or embryo – often about six weeks into a pregnancy and before many women know they are pregnant.
It included some exceptions for cases of rape, incest and foetal abnormalities, as well as when the mother’s life is in danger.
Iowa is one of many states that have enacted abortion restrictions since the US Supreme Court overturned the landmark 1973 case of Roe v Wade, which guaranteed the right to an abortion across America, last year.
A lawsuit from Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, the Emma Goldman Clinic, and the ACLU of Iowa argued the law goes against Iowans’ constitutional rights.
Polk County District Court Judge Joseph Seidlin said by granting the temporary injunction, “it recognises that there are good, honourable and intelligent people – morally, politically and legally – on both sides of this upsetting societal and constitutional dilemma”.
Some abortion clinics said they scrambled to fit in appointments, staying open late to accommodate people, before Reynolds signed the six week ban last week.
The legislation is nearly identical to a six-week abortion ban that the Iowa legislature passed in 2018, before Roe v Wade was overturned.
Back then, the Iowa Supreme Court was split over a lower court’s ruling against that law, causing the lower court’s decision to stay in place. (BBC)