On Wednesday, Iowa lawmakers passed the “heartbeat bill,” which would ban abortions as soon as a fetal heartbeat is detected.
If signed into law, Senate File 359 would become the nation’s strictest ban as in many cases, heartbeats can be detected as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. Many women do not realize they are expecting until a week or two after a missed period, which would make it too late for women to have an abortion in Iowa.
Iowa is already one of the most restrictive states when it comes to abortions. Most abortions in Iowa are barred after 20 weeks, whereas most states prohibit abortions once the fetus is viable, that is when the fetus is capable of prolonged life outside of the mother’s womb.
According to Iowa Public Radio, the House passed the legislation on Tuesday night with a 51-46 vote. The bill then passed the Senate on Wednesday morning with a 27-19 vote. Critics of the bill are certain that if signed into law, the bill would likely be challenged on whether or not it goes against previous Supreme Court rulings, such as Roe v. Wade. However, Supporters of the bill actually welcome the legal challenge in hopes of overturning previous rulings.
“This bill will be the vehicle that will ultimately provide change and provide the opportunity to overturn Roe v. Wade,” Republican Sen. Rick Bertrand said. “There’s nothing hidden here about the agenda. You know, today the pro-life movement won a battle, but the war rages on. My Republican colleagues, this is the vote of your career.”
As restricting as the bill is, Senate File 359 would not ban abortion after six weeks in all cases. Exemptions include instances of rape, incest, fetus abnormalities, and to save the mother’s life. The bill will also make exemptions for cases where the fetus will not survive birth.
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