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Iowa governor signs 20-week abortion ban into law

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) testifies Tuesday on his nomination to be ambassador to China before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Branstad signed a bill banning abortion after 20 weeks gestation into law on Friday. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) signed a bill banning abortion after 20 weeks gestation Friday, according to Reuters.

The bill, which has exceptions for cases where there is a maternal mortality risk, also puts in place a three-day waiting period for abortion procedures.

Ben Hammes, a spokesman for Branstad, told Reuters that "the pro-life movement is making tremendous strides in changing the hearts and minds to return to a culture that once again respects human life.”

Shortly after the bill was signed, the state Supreme Court granted a temporary injunction halting implementation of the waiting period. The American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood called the 72-hour waiting period unconstitutional. The two organizations appealed to the state’s high court after they were denied an injunction by a district judge Thursday.

"We are pleased that the court granted the temporary injunction, ruling on the side of Iowa women who need access to, and have a constitutional right, to safe, legal abortion," Suzanna de Baca, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, said in a statement.

Hammes told Reuters that "this is all part of the process and we're confident that the stay will be lifted very shortly."

Reuters reported that Branstad’s administration will have an opportunity to respond Monday to the court's injunction.

A 2014 Quinnipiac poll found that 60 percent of Americans support legislation prohibiting abortion after 20 weeks. And a 2016 Knights of Columbus/Marist poll found that 78 percent of Americans support some restrictions on abortion.

According to the Charlotte Lozier Institute, a pro-life research organization, similar 20-week bans have been passed in several states, including South Dakota, Wisconsin and Nebraska.

Branstad has been tapped by President Donald Trump to serve as the U.S. ambassador to China.

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