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Iowa faces lawsuit over its abortion ban — and the Democratic AG refuses to defend the state

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller will not defend the state against lawsuits over the state's abortion ban. Miller claimed that the law goes against his beliefs. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller (D)  has disqualified himself from defending the state against inevitable legal challenges to the state's recently passed law banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, The Hill reported.

Miller, who claimed that the law goes against his beliefs, recommended that a Chicago-based firm represent the state instead.

What's the story?

Iowa Solicitor General Jeffrey Thompson sent a letter on Miller's behalf to the state Legislature explaining his decision.

"Pursuant to Iowa Code section 13.3, Attorney General Tom Miller has disqualified himself from representing the state in litigation challenging the recently enacted Senate File 359, the fetal heartbeat bill. The disqualification is based on the Attorney General's determination that he could not zealously assert the state's position because of his core belief that the statute, if upheld, would undermine rights and protections for women.

After consulting with the Governor's office and legislators, the Attorney General would recommend the Executive Council authorize the appointment of the Thomas More Society, 19 South LaSalle Street, Chicago, IL 60603, to represent the state in this litigation. Thomas More has agreed to handle this litigation on a pro bono basis."

Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union announced lawsuits to stop the abortion law Tuesday.

"Iowa will not go back in time by taking away this right," said Planned Parenthood of the Heartland president Suzanna de Baca. "Planned Parenthood is challenging this law because the Iowa Constitution is clear a woman has a right to access a safe and legal abortion."

What about the law?

Earlier this month, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed into law a measure that would outlaw abortions after detection of a fetal heartbeat, which is typically possible around six weeks into pregnancy.

The law is partially intended to serve as the starting point to a challenge of the Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade, which established the constitutional right of women to get an abortion.

"We knew there would be a legal fight, but it's worth having to protect innocent life," a Reynolds spokesperson said in an email to Reuters.

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