DES MOINES, Iowa (CN) – Save The 1, an anti-abortion advocate for protecting children born of rape and incest, filed a motion to intervene Tuesday in a case challenging Iowa’s new fetal-heartbeat law because it says the law includes too many exceptions.
Iowa legislators this spring enacted what’s considered the strictest anti-abortion statute in the nation by outlawing abortions when a fetal heartbeat is detectable, which can happen at about six weeks into a pregnancy and before many women are aware they are pregnant.
Two abortion providers represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa sued in state court last month, saying it will prevent virtually all women from getting an abortion in the state. A judge issued a temporary injunction barring enforcement of the law while the case proceeds to trial.
Iowa’s fetal-heartbeat law makes exceptions in cases of rape or incest or where the physician certifies that the fetus has a “fetal abnormality that in the physician’s reasonable medical judgment is incompatible with life.”
While critics say the law goes too far, Michigan-based Save The 1 says it does not go far enough because it allows those exceptions.
Rebecca Kiessling, a Detroit attorney and president of Save The 1, said Wednesday the organization intends to become more aggressive in making its case in state and federal courts, and the motion to intervene in the Iowa suit is “just the beginning.”
She said if the Iowa court denies the motion, the group will file in federal court.
“We’re not going to roll over and play dead anymore,” she said in a phone interview.
Altoona, Iowa, attorney Eric Borseth is local counsel for Save The 1 in its effort to intervene.
A spokesperson for the ACLU of Iowa said it will oppose the motion.
Save The 1 says it has more than 600 members who conceived or were conceived as a result of rape, incest or sex trafficking, and it wants the court to declare the Iowa law’s exceptions unconstitutional under the federal and state constitutions.
The anti-abortion group argues in a petition seeking declaratory relief and an injunction, which was also filed Tuesday, that rapists should be punished, not innocent children.
Targeting certain people for exceptions to abortion laws amounts to unfair discrimination, it claims.
“The sting of this discrimination not only affects every unborn child who is deemed to fit into these legislative categories of rape, incest or fetal abnormality, but is lifelong – affecting every person born who was conceived in rape or given a challenging pre-natal diagnosis by a physician,” the petition states.
That sends a message to people in these groups that “their lives are worth less than anyone else’s,” according to Save The 1.
“Imagine having an exception in cases of Asian babies, Jewish babies, or left-handed babies,” its petition says.