Iowa lawmakers send 6-week abortion ban to governor


Associated Press

DES MOINES, IOWA

Republican legislators sent Iowa’s governor a bill early Wednesday that would ban most abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, usually around six weeks of pregnancy, propelling the state overnight to the front of a push among conservative statehouses jockeying to enact the nation’s most restrictive regulations on the procedure.

Critics say the so-called “heartbeat” bill, which now awaits the signature of anti-abortion GOP Gov. Kim Reynolds, would ban abortions before some women even know they’re pregnant. That could set up the state for a legal challenge over its constitutionality, including from the same federal appeals court that three years ago struck down similar legislation approved in Arkansas and North Dakota.

Backers of the legislation, which failed to get a single Democratic vote in either Iowa chamber, expressed hope it could challenge Roe vs. Wade, the landmark 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that established women have a right to terminate pregnancies until a fetus is viable.

Conservatives say an influx of right-leaning judicial appointments under President Donald Trump could make it a possibility.

“Today we will begin this journey as Iowa becomes ground zero, now nationally, in the life movement,” Sen. Rick Bertrand, a Republican from Sioux City, said during floor debate.

Erin Davison-Rippey, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, said Iowa Republicans “do not care how much taxpayer money will be spent on a lawsuit ... or how many families may choose to go elsewhere because Iowa is no longer a state where they are safe to live and work.”

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