Iowa Legislature Passes Legislation Banning Abortion When Fetal Heartbeat Is Detected


Iowa lawmakers Wednesday passed a bill that would outlaw most abortions after six weeks, a measure aimed at returning the legal fight over abortion to the Supreme Court.

Early Wednesday morning state lawmakers passed a controversial bill that would ban most abortions in Iowa ... but the controversy surrounding it isn't over.

Iowa's Legislature has passed a bill that would make most abortions illegal once a fetal heartbeat can be detected.

Other state laws have failed The 8th US Circuit Court of Appeals rejected as unconstitutional the "heartbeat" bills from North Dakota and Arkansas.

Republicans said that this bill sends a message to the courts that Iowa is ready to protect the unborn.

"I would love for the United States Supreme Court to look at this bill and have this as a vehicle to overturn Roe v. Wade", Republican Senator Jake Chapman said.

If signed, the bill would arguably become one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country. The bill does include exceptions if the pregnant person's life is in danger, in cases of rape and incest, and a few others.

Democrats, however, say the legal costs would be a waste of tax funds.

Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood, called the bill an "extreme and draconian policy that takes aim at a woman's right to control her own body, life, and future".

So-called heartbeat bans have been deemed unconstitutional because they seek to ban abortion months before the point at which a fetus is viable.

Rep. Mary Wolfe, a Democrat representing Clinton, Iowa, noted that physicians would not be tasked with confirming reports of incest or rape that are made by women seeking abortions.

Last year, Iowa Republicans successfully banned abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

And while we understand Gov. Reynolds' pro-life position, the federal appeals court ruling, which would nearly certainly put the Iowa heartbeat proposal on hold, makes her signature pointless.

Jennifer Price, co-director of the Emma Goldman Clinic, which provides abortions in Iowa City, said women often take time to meet with counselors and family members before deciding whether to obtain an abortion. The Iowa bill also includes exceptions for medical emergencies, medically necessary abortions and instances when the fetus has an abnormality that is "incompatible with life".

The Republicans pressing the Iowa legislation have a goal in their sights: reaching a Supreme Court that could shift in composition with a Republican in the White House, potentially giving the anti-abortion movement a court more sympathetic to its goal of overturning Roe v. Wade.

Republicans at the Iowa Capitol have long sought to approve legislation that would further restrict abortion, and their flip of the state Senate chamber in the 2016 election gave them a trifecta of GOP power for the first time in almost 20 years.

A provision requiring a three-day waiting period for an abortion is on hold, amid a legal challenge.

During Tuesday night's debate, Republicans praised the latest legislation.