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Statement regarding Iowa Supreme Court Decision

June 28, 2024


The Iowa Medical Society (IMS) expresses disappointment in today’s ruling by the Iowa Supreme Court, which compromises the sanctity of the physician-patient relationship and jeopardizes the provision of quality health care. On a 4-3 vote, the Iowa Supreme Court voted to lift the injunction on the ‘fetal heartbeat’ law passed during the 2023 special session. The law prevents physicians from providing medically necessary health care within accepted standards of care, except in a narrow set of circumstances.


Today’s decision means the injunction blocking the law from going into effect has been lifted and will be sent back to the lower court to execute the ruling. The law must first be sent back to the lower court to remove the temporary injunction. The court stated, “We reverse the order granting the temporary injunction and remand the case for the district court to dissolve the temporary injunction and continue with further proceedings.”


IMS supports shared decision-making between patients and their physicians, without government interference.


According to data reported by the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services, one-third of Iowa’s 99 counties qualify as maternity health deserts due to lack of OB/GYNs and birthing hospitals or birthing centers. 1


Government regulation criminalizing physicians for providing evidence-based medical care within accepted standards of care deters physicians from practicing in Iowa and jeopardizes access to high-quality maternal health services.

IMS continues to monitor developments resulting from this decision and provide guidance on how this impacts your practice and patients.


UPDATED July 1: According to the Iowa Attorney General’s office, the injunction will remain in effect until the lower court formally receives the case, a process that will take at least three weeks from the June 28 ruling. The current law providing a limit of 20 weeks continues to apply in the meantime.


1 State of Iowa Department of Health and Human Services, ACCESS TO OBSTETRICAL CARE IN IOWA: A REPORT to the IOWA STATE LEGISLATURE – CALENDAR YEAR 2022 (January, 2024) available at

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