Iowa lawmakers pass "heartbeat bill"

Blanche Robertson
May 3, 2018

But a provision in that legislation requiring a three-day waiting period for abortions - according to an AP analysis, among the longest wait periods in the country - was challenged in court. The move is meant to pose an aggressive challenge to Roe v. Wade and reignite conservative energy before the midterm elections in November. The only state that has fewer practicing OBGYNs than Iowa is Arkansas.

Mark Stringer, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, expressed similar sentiments, saying he was "outraged" by the legislation.

The House narrowly approved the bill 51-46 late Tuesday night. The case made its way to the US Supreme Court, where it was blocked permanently.

Republican Governor Kim Reynolds, who is anti-abortion, has yet to publicly state if she will sign into the law or not. Her decision is expected within days.

Iowa Republicans passed legislation previous year that banned most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Enacted in March, the southern state outlawed the procedure after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

And it's most certainly going to be challenged in court, opponents say.

Because an unborn baby's heartbeat is detectable by about six weeks of pregnancy, the bill would prohibit nearly all abortions in Iowa. Exemptions include instances of rape, incest, fetus abnormalities, and to save the mother's life.

Erin Davison-Rippey, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, said that most abortions in Iowa would be illegal under the measure.

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"No one wants abortions", Rep. Timi Brown-Powers, D-Waterloo, said, "but this bill won't decrease the number of abortions". If one is detected, health-care providers are barred from performing an abortion.

"The governor's office has not received the bill from the Legislature to review it", Smith said, in lieu of a direct response to reporters requesting a brief opportunity to speak with her.

"I firmly believe that life begins at conception, but I also believe it is a moral, a religious, and most importanty a family decision". "There's nothing hidden here about the agenda". "Our goal is plain and simple - to once and for all end the terrible practice of abortion and to create a society that values life from conception to natural death". Jake Chapman, who represents Adel, about 20 miles west of Des Moines.

"Middle-class and upper-class women always have access", Wessel-Kroeschell said.

"This law, if signed, I believe could very well be the very bill that overturns Roe v. Wade", said Iowa state Sen.

In 2013, North Dakota passed a similar law that banned abortions after six weeks. As amended, he said, an unborn child is not legally defined as a person, so an abortion in violation of the legislation does not meet the statutory definition of murder. Critics argue that it would prohibit abortions until after many women even realize they are pregnant.

"It would take the Supreme Court to step in", said pro-life advocate Bryan Gibson. However, amendments passed loosened the bill's abortion restrictions, allowing the bill to garner extra votes it needed to pass.

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