Wednesday, the Polk County District Court issued a temporary injunction of the implementation of a law that would have blocked Planned Parenthood from being eligible to receive grants for funding sexual education in Iowa.
Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the bill earlier this month. The bill blocks organizations that provide access to abortions, such as Planned Parenthood, from receiving grants.
Any organization which “provides or promotes abortion” would have been barred from receiving funding from the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP), and the Community Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (CAPP) programs. These grants provide funding for sex education and related services in Iowa.
The court will issue a formal injunction once Planned Parenthood of the Heartland makes a procedural move to make it effective.
The court ruled the state “will not be injured by receiving services from a qualified provider [such as Planned Parenthood] in exchange for funds that have already been appropriated and intended to be awarded under the CAPP and PREP programs.”
Sarah Stoesz, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood North Central States, said today’s ruling is a victory for young people in Iowa.
“We must protect the health of young people and their right to crucial health information,” Stoesz said. “Planned Parenthood will never stop fighting for the health of every young person in Iowa.”
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) had filed the lawsuit on behalf of Planned Parenthood on May 15, saying the law is unconstitutional. The suit said the law violates free speech, due process and the Equal Protection Clause.
Rita Bettis Austen, ACLU of Iowa legal director, said today’s decision is an important step to protect Iowa teens.
“It’s also an important step to protect the fundamental abortion, free speech and free association rights that are at stake,” Bettis Austen said.
States under Republican control such as Iowa have passed a spate of legislation to limit abortion access and to deter the operation of organizations that provide abortions.
In 2018, Iowa passed a law banning abortion after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, though it was struck down by a federal court in January.
Alabama passed a law banning abortion at all stages of a pregnancy, only providing an exception in cases of “serious risk" to the mother’s health.
Georgia, Ohio and Missouri also recently passed laws which would ban abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat. Louisiana passed a similar bill Wednesday, and the governor has said he would sign it when it reaches his desk.