Iowa 'Heartbeat' law bans abortions after six weeks

The bill now goes to Republican Governor Kim Reynolds, an abortion opponent, who has not said publicly whether she will sign it into law.

The Senate voted 29-17 to pass the House of Representatives-approved bill, according to the legislature's online voting tallies.

Considered the most restrictive in the country, critics say the law would deny abortions to many women before they even know they are pregnant - with an exception for victims of rape or incest. The Daily Iowan previously reported that University of Iowa constitutional-law Professor Paul Gowder said the bill will nearly certainly not survive a court challenge.

"I understand that not everyone will agree with this decision", Reynolds said.

A similar court challenge is underway in Kentucky, which in April enacted a ban on a common abortion procedure from the 11th week of pregnancy.

Law makers in Iowa this week handed out the alleged "heart-beat expenses" which would prohibit abortion the moment a fetal heartbeat can be detected, or about throughout the week of maternity.

Pro-abortion activists demonstrate in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington DC
Pro-abortion activists demonstrate in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington DC Credit AFP

If a heartbeat is detected, the abortion would be prohibited except in cases involving medical emergency, rape, incest or fetal abnormalities deemed to be "incompatible" with life.

Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life, praised the law, saying it "will not only save lives, it also reminds us that abortion stops a beating heart".

"It's shameful that when Planned Parenthood heard lawmakers were introducing legislation to ban abortion, we were outraged - but we weren't surprised", said Suzanna de Baca, president and chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, reports the Register. Reynolds acknowledged that there would be a court challenge. "However, this is bigger than just a law".

Supporters of the bill claimed the legislation would be contested if signed in to law, possibly making it into the Supreme Court. "This should be deeply concerning to anyone who believes women should be allowed to make decisions about their bodies and control their destinies, and we now look to the courts to defend our essential human rights". It's now in effect, though a provision requiring a three-day waiting period to get an abortion is tied up in a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood and the ACLU.

"We couldn't be more pleased", DeWitte said Friday.

"This new unconstitutional law shows that Reynolds cares more about the extreme political special interests that fund her campaign than about the rights of women in our state".


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