Iowa Is One Signature Away From Banning Abortion

The state of Iowa is one signature away from potentially changing the entire nation’s abortion laws.

The Iowa state House and Senate passed a bill that would all but eliminate the practice of abortion in the state and may land a national legal battle over the issue in the Supreme Court.

The “Heartbeat” bill was passed by the Republican-controlled House and Senate in the Iowa state legislature this week. The midnight votes on the bill were contentious but successful for the pro-life advocates. The bill would ban the option of an abortion if a heartbeat is detected in an ultrasound. Most pregnancies exhibit a heartbeat for the baby as early as six weeks.

There are exemptions to the rule, such as protecting the life of the mother and other medical emergencies. According to the Des Moines Register, the exemptions are as follows:

  • the woman was raped and reports the rape to a law enforcement agency, a public or private health agency or a family physician within 45 days;
  • the woman was the victim of incest and reports the issue to a law enforcement agency, a public or private health agency or a family physician within 140 days;
  • “not all the products of conception are expelled” following a spontaneous miscarriage;
  • a physician certifies that the fetus has an abnormality that, in the physician’s “reasonable medical judgment,” is incompatible with life.

Pro-life Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds will now determine if the bill becomes law.

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) greets Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds prior to speaking at the annual Ronald Reagan Commemorative Dinner October 25, 2013 in Des Moines, Iowa. Cruz was the keynote speaker. (Photo by Steve Pope/Getty Images)

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A spokeswoman for the governor said Wednesday that Reynolds is “100 percent pro-life and will never stop fighting for the unborn” and that the office is reviewing the final language of the bill.

According to the Register, proponents of the bill hope it will spark a legal debate that ultimately overturns Roe v. Wade in the Supreme Court. Iowa state Senator Jake Chapman said, “This law, if signed, I believe could very well be the very bill that overturns Roe v. Wade.”

If the bill becomes law, the legal battles against it from pro-choice advocates will almost certainly land the challenge before higher courts.



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