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Iowa Officials Approve Hiring of Conservative Law Firm to Defend Abortion Law

bill signing
John Pemble/IPR file
Gov. Kim Reynolds signs the fetal heartbeat abortion bill into law May 4, 2018.

Iowa’s Executive Council voted Monday to approve the hiring of a Chicago-based conservative law firm to represent the state in a lawsuit challenging the fetal heartbeat abortion law.

Planned Parenthood, the ACLU of Iowa and the Emma Goldman Clinic sued the state last week, and Iowa’s attorney general refused to defend the law that bans most abortions after about six weeks into pregnancy. The Thomas More Society volunteered to represent Iowa.

Asked if the Thomas More Society’s work would come at no cost to taxpayers, Chief Deputy Attorney General Eric Tabor said, “That’s my understanding.”

Tabor said state officials and legislators agreed the Thomas More Society would “do a good job.”

“Because of their experience and the qualifications of the lawyers. And their desire to do it,” Tabor said. “Their zealous desire to defend the statute.”

The Thomas More Society did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

The four Executive Council members present voted to approve hiring the law firm. Gov. Kim Reynolds, the fifth council member, was traveling and did not participate. She is named in the lawsuit.

Tabor said a contract will be signed ahead of the first hearing in the legal challenge, which is scheduled for June 1st in Polk County court.

Katarina Sostaric is IPR's State Government Reporter