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Governor Kim Reynolds

DES MOINES, Iowa, May 9, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — On Tuesday, Pro-life Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds defended her decision to sign legislation banning abortion once a heartbeat can be detected, despite fierce condemnation from abortion advocates.

“I think that I have made it very clear that I am pro-life and, as a governor, I would do everything that I could to protect the life of the unborn,” Reynolds said at a press conference in response to a question about potential economic boycotts of the state, the Des Moines Register reports.

“I have had very positive feedback. But as you know, there is feedback on both sides,” the Republican governor continued. “There are very, very strong and passionate feelings on both sides of this issue. I believe […] we need to do everything that we can to protect life and that is what I did when I signed the bill.”

Reynolds signed SF 359 into law last week. It is expected to stop most abortions, starting between 6-8 weeks, and is slated to take effect on July 1. It allows exceptions for babies conceived in rape if reported within 45 days, babies conceived in incest if the incest is reported within 140 days, or fetal abnormalities deemed “incompatible with life,” and for physical threats to the mother’s life.

“Let us extend heartfelt thanks to our legislators and Governor Kim Reynolds for the passage of the Heartbeat Bill,” Iowans for Life head Maggie DeWitte said. “The Governor and our legislators took a lot of heat for standing up for the little guy in the womb.”

With SF 359, Iowa joins Mississippi as the two states with the strongest pro-life laws in America. Pro-life Republican Gov. Phil Bryant signed Mississippi’s heartbeat abortion ban last month, but a federal judge has temporarily blocked its enforcement following a lawsuit by the pro-abortion Center of Reproductive Rights on behalf of the controversial Women’s Health Organization (WHO) abortion facility. Planned Parenthood has threatened to sue Iowa, as well.

Lawmakers who supported the bill acknowledge that the bill conflicts with Roe v. Wade’s mandate that abortions be allowed prior to viability, but say inviting such a challenge was part of the point.

“This law, if signed, I believe could very well be the very bill that overturns Roe v. Wade,” Republican Sen. Jake Chapman said. U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-IA, the lead sponsor of federal heartbeat legislation, has argued that the time is now to enact such laws, anticipating that President Donald Trump will have nominated at least one additional pro-life justice by the time the case reaches the Supreme Court.

Abortion advocates have fiercely attacked Reynolds and Iowa over the law, with talking points ranging from comparing Iowa to countries such as Saudi Arabia, to suggesting the law will cost taxpayers too much to defend in court. The Des Moines Register’s editorial board denounced their female governor for “sen[ding] a message that every woman […] is nothing more than a reproductive vessel.” More than 100 pro-abortion protesters gathered outside the state Capital to protest the law.

However, a Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa poll from February suggests Iowans will side with Reynolds, finding that 55% would support officially defining life as beginning at conception, with only 34% opposed and 11% undecided.

As the conference was coming to a close, Reynolds declined to answer a question about whether legislation defining life at conception would come next. “I signed a bill to protect life and that is the bill I signed” she said. “Thank you very much.”