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A Judge Temporarily Blocks Iowa's Controversial Abortion Ban

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and state attorneys on Friday agreed to prevent a new law that would ban abortions as soon as a fetal heartbeat is detected from taking effect on July 1st, the Guardian reports.

Signed into law by Reynolds in early May, the "heartbeat" bill became the most restrictive abortion measure anywhere in the nation. "I believe all innocent life is precious and sacred, and, as governor, I pledge to you to do everything in my power to protect life," Reynolds said at an event following the bill's signing, as Pacific Standard reported in May.

The injunction is the first step in a legal challenge brought by the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa and Planned Parenthood. ACLU of Iowa Legal Director Rita Bettis told Iowa Public Radio that the state will now file an answer to the legal challenge. The case will then go to the Iowa district court, and potentially onto the Iowa Supreme Court.

Though temporary, the decision to stop the ban from taking effect came as a relief to many. "Women in Iowa don't have to live with the burden of that uncertainty of knowing whether or not they'll have abortion rights come July 1st," Bettis said.