DES MOINES (LifeSiteNews) – Iowa Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds signed into law Friday a ban on aborting babies with detectable heartbeats, sending a message to justices on the state’s highest court who had questioned whether the policy was still the will of the state’s elected representatives.
CNN reports that the law bans abortion starting at around six weeks, with exceptions for rape, incest, fatal fetal abnormalities, threats to the mother’s life, and miscarriages, while allowing abortion for any reason prior to the detection of a fetal heartbeat. The law says it is “not to be construed to impose civil or criminal liability on a woman upon whom an abortion is performed in violation of the division,” but rather punishes abortionists.
Iowa already has a heartbeat abortion ban on the books from 2018, but last month the Iowa Supreme Court deadlocked on its legality, with a 3-3 vote that resulted in it continuing to be blocked from enforcement. Three argued that the law should be allowed to take effect in light of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade last year; three held that, as Justice Thomas Waterman claimed, it would “bypass the legislature” to let an act of the legislature take effect, and that “legislative reenactment” should be required to “assur[e] that a current legislative majority supports the statutory restriction on liberty.”
“The Iowa Supreme Court questioned whether this legislature would pass the same law they did in 2018, and today they have a clear answer,” Reynolds previously said while announcing her plans to sign the bill, passed in a special legislative session convened after the ruling. “The voices of Iowans and their democratically elected representatives cannot be ignored any longer, and justice for the unborn should not be delayed.”
“We will continue to advocate for life and will not stop fighting until abortion becomes unthinkable,” said Iowa Right to Life executive director Kristi Judkins. “We want to see lives saved and women no longer placed in harm’s way because of abortion.”
Fourteen states currently ban all or most abortions, and available data so far indicates that state pro-life laws could effectively wipe out an estimated 200,000 abortions a year, discrediting abortion defenders’ long-running predictions that abortion bans would only force women to continue aborting through more dangerous and illicit means.
Meanwhile, abortion allies pursue a variety of tactics to preserve abortion “access,” such as easing distribution of abortion pills, legal protection and financial support of interstate abortion travel, attempting to enshrine “rights” to the practice in state constitutions rather than the U.S. Constitution, constructing new abortion facilities near borders shared by pro-life and pro-abortion states, and making liberal states sanctuaries for those who want to evade or violate the laws of more pro-life neighbors.
President Joe Biden has called on Congress to codify a “right” to abortion in federal law, which would not only restore but expand the Roe status quo by making it illegal for states to pass virtually any pro-life laws.
The Iowa Supreme Court affirmed last year that the Iowa Constitution does not contain a state “right” to abortion.