Iowa Enacts Heartbeat Bill, Bans Nearly All Abortions After Six Weeks of Pregnancy

by J Pelkey
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Iowa Republicans approved a bill late Tuesday night that prohibits most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. The legislation, which forbids abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, was passed shortly after 11 p.m. during a special session.

The legislation includes exceptions for situations where the mother’s life is at risk, cases of miscarriages, and fetal abnormalities determined to be “incompatible with life” by a doctor.

Additionally, exceptions are made for cases of rape and incest, provided that the rape was reported to law enforcement or a physician within 45 days (or 140 days in the case of incest).

Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds called the special session with the aim of enacting legislation to protect life. The measure sparked a 15-hour-long debate among lawmakers, while outside the chamber, pro-abortion activists caused a commotion.

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Shortly after the bill was passed, Governor Kim Reynolds announced her intention to sign it into law on Friday, July 14, 2023.

“Today, the Iowa legislature once again voted to protect life and end abortion at a heartbeat, with exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother,” the governor said.

“The Iowa Supreme Court questioned whether this legislature would pass the same law they did in 2018, and today they have a clear answer,” Gov. Reynolds continued. “The voices of Iowans and their democratically elected representatives cannot be ignored any longer, and justice for the unborn should not be delayed.”

“As a pro-life Governor, I am also committed to continuing policies to support women in planning for motherhood, promote the importance of fatherhood, and encourage strong families. Our state and country will be stronger because of it.”

Unless challenged in court, the law will take effect once it is signed. Pro-abortion groups, including Planned Parenthood, have vowed to challenge the law in legal proceedings.

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