Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds approved last week what’s being called the most restrictive abortion ban in the country.
Reynolds signed the bill Friday as supporters cheered her on. Meanwhile, outside protestors shouted, “My body, my choice.”
The law, Senate File 359, will go into effect July 1.
“I believe that all innocent life is precious and sacred,” Reynolds said before signing the bill. “And as governor, I have pledged to do everything in my power to protect it. And that’s what I’m doing today.”
Under the law, physicians will not be allowed to perform most abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. Heartbeat can usually be heard about six weeks into pregnancy.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa and Planned Parenthood of the Heartland say they plan on challenging the new law.
“I am extremely sympathetic of the resistance to this bill,” said Jennifer Weatherby, who was among protestors. “It puts women in danger. We know that abortion bans don’t end abortion. This just ends safe abortion.”
Iowa has long been trying to pass an abortion ban. Last year, another “heartbeat ban” failed, and Republicans voted in a 20-week abortion ban. This year, the fetal heartbeat ban stalled in the House until a deal was struck that would provide exceptions to the ban in cases of rape, incest and fetal anomaly.
The proposal passed 51 to 46 last week in the House. The Senate passed the bill the next day with a 29-17 vote.
“I understand that not everyone will agree with this decision,” Reynolds said. “But if death is determined when a heart stops beating, then doesn’t a beating heart indicate life?
“I understand and I anticipate that this will likely be challenged in court, and that courts may even put on hold a law until it reaches the Supreme Court,” she said. “However, this is bigger than just a law. This is about life. And I’m not going to back down from who I am or what I believe in.”
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Publication date: May 8, 2018