Iowa Republicans pass bill banning most abortions after about 6 weeks, governor to sign Friday

by Joshua Brown
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Iowa abortion ban

On Tuesday, the Republican-dominated Legislature of Iowa successfully passed a legislation that prohibits the majority of abortions post six weeks of pregnancy. Governor Kim Reynolds has pledged to validate the bill with her signature this Friday.

The approval of the bill, which was an exclusive effort of the Republican party, emerged after an unusual, all-day legislative session that lasted for over 14 hours, against strenuous opposition from Democratic legislators and abortion rights advocates who were protesting at the Capitol. The bill’s approval was met with cries of disapproval and accusations of shame from lingering protesters late into the night.

In an unanticipated move, Reynolds demanded this special session after the state’s Supreme Court refused to revive a nearly identical law in June that she had previously signed in 2018.

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

Currently, abortion in Iowa is legal up until 20 weeks of pregnancy. This new legislation will come into immediate effect upon the governor’s signature and will essentially ban all abortions once cardiac activity can be detected, typically around the six-week mark, often before many women realize they’re pregnant.

Various organizations including the ACLU of Iowa, Planned Parenthood, and the Emma Goldman Clinic are preparing to legally contest this law and seek to have it blocked as soon as it is signed into effect.

A small number of exceptions under the new legislation allow for abortions after cardiac activity has been detected, in cases of reported rape or incest within a set timeframe, a fetal abnormality that is “incompatible with life,” or if the pregnancy poses a threat to the life of the pregnant woman.

The decision provoked strong public sentiment, with citizens both for and against the bill expressing their views to lawmakers. Sara Eide from the Iowa Catholic Conference urged lawmakers to vote in favor, emphasizing the value and rights of an unborn child. On the other hand, Hilary McAdoo, a fertility nurse, voiced her opposition to the legislation, arguing against forcing pregnancy on women and deemed the six-week cutoff as “impossible and irresponsible”.

This law, along with others like it, bans abortion once a “fetal heartbeat” can be detected. However, medical experts argue that this concept is misrepresentative, as the embryo at this stage doesn’t have a heart and is not yet considered a fetus.

In 2019, a district court deemed the 2018 law unconstitutional based on rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court and Iowa’s Supreme Court that upheld a woman’s fundamental constitutional right to abortion.

After the original rulings were overturned last year, attempts to reinstate the 2018 law were made, but the state’s high court remained divided, leaving the law permanently blocked. This prompted Reynolds to recall lawmakers to Des Moines.

Proposed amendments from Democratic lawmakers to broaden the exceptions were quickly rejected. House Minority Leader Jennifer Konfrst expressed concerns about the potential for immediate chaos and confusion if the bill is signed into law and accused the Republican legislature of undermining the freedom of Iowa women.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, many Republican-controlled states have drastically restricted abortion access, with Georgia being the only state to ban abortion after cardiac activity is detected. Several other states have comparable restrictions pending court rulings.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Iowa abortion ban

What does the new legislation in Iowa entail?

The new legislation in Iowa, passed by the Republican-led Legislature, bans most abortions after approximately six weeks of pregnancy. It will take effect once Governor Kim Reynolds signs the bill.

When will Governor Kim Reynolds sign the bill into law?

Governor Kim Reynolds has announced her intention to sign the bill on Friday.

What are the exceptions to the abortion ban?

Under the new legislation, there are limited circumstances where abortion would be allowed after cardiac activity is detected. These exceptions include cases of reported rape or incest within specific timeframes, a fetal abnormality deemed “incompatible with life,” or when the pregnant woman’s life is at risk.

How long is abortion currently legal in Iowa?

Abortion is currently legal in Iowa up to 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Are there any legal challenges expected for the new law?

Preparations are underway to file legal challenges in court and seek to block the law once it is signed by Governor Reynolds. Organizations like the ACLU of Iowa, Planned Parenthood, and the Emma Goldman Clinic have expressed their commitment to protecting reproductive rights and have plans to challenge the law.

Have similar abortion restrictions been implemented in other states?

Yes, in the past year, many Republican-controlled states have enacted significant restrictions on abortion access. Georgia, for example, has a ban on abortion after cardiac activity is detected. Other states also have similar restrictions that are currently on hold pending court rulings.

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1 comment

JaneDoe88 July 12, 2023 - 6:00 pm

omg! cant blieve Iowa passing dis law! its like they dont care bout women’s rights! #outrage


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