Iowa governor signs restrictive abortion ban known as 'heartbeat bill'

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

A bill that would ban almost all abortions in Iowa cleared the House late Tuesday night and the Senate early Wednesday morning.

Abortion opponents aim to land abortion questions back in front of the nation's top court, where they believe the 5-4 conservative majority could sharply curtail abortion access or ban it outright.

On Wednesday, the Iowa state Senate approved legislation already OK'd by the House of Representatives that would ban abortion after a fetal heartbeat has been detected, which generally comes around six weeks into a pregnancy, Reuters reported. Much of the outrage centers on the idea that many women would be unaware that they're even pregnant before the ability to terminate a pregnancy is no longer an option.

The Republican governor signed the bill Friday at her state capitol office.

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What new restrictions have been approved?

This is the most restrictive abortion bill in the United States, and it really sounds like these lawmakers need to be sat down and reminded about the whole, very basic "our body, our choice" thing. If one is detected, she will be barred from obtaining a termination. It would effectively ban most abortions after about six weeks into a pregnancy, with limited exceptions for incest, rape, and saving the life of the mother.

The State Home handed the laws on Tuesday evening with a 51-46 vote, Iowa Public Radio reported.

"All women, regardless of age, income or race, should be able to obtain reproductive health services, including abortion, free from political and economic barriers", Ms Wessel-Kroeschell said.

Reynolds said in a statement after signing the measure that she expects a legal challenge.

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"The bill is now headed to Gov. Reynolds, who will inevitably lead Iowa into an expensive, lengthy legal battle if she signs it into law", said Davison-Rippey in her statement, referring to the bill as the "so-called" fetal heartbeat bill. It also makes it illegal for a doctor to perform one. "We, however, welcome the opportunity to challenge the unjust law, Roe vs. Wade, that legalized abortion in our country". "[Reynolds] is following through on her pledge to the people of Iowa that she is 100 percent pro-life".

No, in fact some Republican lawmakers welcomed the challenge. I understand that not everyone will agree with this decision. You can take comfort in knowing that the court turned down similar heartbeat bills from North Dakota and Arkansas, and declared them unconstitutional.

"The constitutional basis upon which any claim against the law would be made is a basis that's founded in Roe v. Wade in 1973", said Renee Cramer, Professor and Chair of Law, Politics, and Society at Drake University. John Roberts, the chief justice, is no fan of abortion and has voted to permit states to regulate it in significant ways.

Several states have attempted to advance abortion bans in recent years.

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