Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds on Friday signed a piece of legislation known as the “heartbeat bill,” which was passed by the state legislature last week, into law, effectively enacting a ban on abortions after six weeks. The new law will prohibit doctors from performing abortions on patients if they’re able to detect a fetal heartbeat, which commonly becomes detectable around the sixth week of pregnancy. Under the law, exceptions can reportedly be made in cases of rape, incest or medical emergencies.
“I understand and anticipate that this will likely be challenged in court,” Reynolds, a Republican, said in a statement. “However, this is bigger than just a law. This is about life.” In a video post on Facebook, showing her surrounded by children as she signed the bill into law, Reynolds added, “I believe that all innocent life is precious and sacred, and as governor, I pledged to do everything in my power to protect it.”
Indeed, legal challenges to the new law were all but instant. The ACLU and Planned Parenthood announced plans to sue in a bid to prevent the law from taking effect.
But that’s just what Iowa Republicans reportedly want to happen. According to reports, the passage and signing of the heartbeat bill is what they see as an opening salvo in a new battle over abortion that they hope will end up in front of the Supreme Court in a challenge to Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that legalized abortion in the U.S.
That strategy was not lost on NARAL Pro-Choice president Ilyse Hogue, who in a statement on Twitter, said, “This law is not just about the women and families of Iowa, it’s about all Americans having the right to decide if, when, and how to have a family. This should be deeply concerning to anyone who believes women should be allowed to make decisions about their bodies.”
The law is expected to go into effect on July 1, unless a court intervenes before then.
"This law is not just about the women & families of Iowa, it’s about all Americans having the right to decide if, when, and how to have a family. This should be deeply concerning to anyone who believes women should be allowed to make decisions about their bodies."
—@ilyseh #IAPOL pic.twitter.com/4MIaEaqVxF
— NARAL (@NARAL) May 4, 2018
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