Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a “heartbeat bill” into law on Friday, banning abortions after six weeks, when a fetal heartbeat can be detected. This makes Iowa the 13th state to have a heartbeat bill protecting the unborn.
“Not only will I continue to fight against the inhumanity of abortion, but I will also remain committed to supporting women in planning for motherhood, promoting fatherhood and parenting, and continuing policies that encourage strong families,” Reynolds said in a statement earlier this month.
Iowa is one of many states that have passed legislation to protect unborn lives since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022 with the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision.
The heartbeat bill passed 56-34 in the Iowa House in a special session that Reynolds called on Tuesday. Every Democrat and two Republicans voted against it, and 10 representatives were absent. The state Senate voted 32-17 shortly after, with only one Republican voting no.
The fetal heartbeat law prohibits abortions once fetal cardiac activity is detected, with few exceptions. Those exceptions include pregnancies resulting from rape and incest. The law also exempts women who suffer a miscarriage, fetuses who have conditions physicians conclude are incompatible with life, and medical emergencies.
Reynolds called the special session for the sole purpose of passing the legislation after the state’s Supreme Court made no progress on determining whether or not a lower court’s injunction of a six-week abortion ban was legal.
Those in opposition to the bill claimed it was effectively an outright abortion ban because most women do not realize they are pregnant at six weeks.
Iowa abortionists filed a lawsuit on Wednesday to block the law’s enforcement.
“We’re seeking to block this ban because we know that every day that the law is in effect, Iowans will face life-threatening barriers to getting desperately needed medical care, just as we’ve seen in other states with similar bans,” said ACLU of Iowa Legal Director Rita Bettis Austen.
In Texas, a state with a similar ban, an estimated 9,799 babies’ lives have been saved between April and December 2022 as a result of Texas’ Heartbeat Act.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis also signed a similar heartbeat bill into law this past April. He had previously signed a 15-week abortion ban following the Dobbs decision.
Many states with similar abortion bans also have programs that encourage adoption, parenthood, and a better foster care system. Florida has legislation promoting fatherhood with mentorship programs. Texas and Tennessee have multimillion-dollar budgets for abortion alternatives. Many pro-life states have adoption tax credits.
“Iowa builds on the wave of lifesaving laws that have been enacted since Roe was overturned, and the pro-life movement isn’t done yet,” said Melanie Israel, policy analyst in The Heritage Foundation’s DeVos Center for Life, Religion, and Family. (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s news and commentary outlet.)
“More states—and Congress—should continue this momentum that reflects the will of the people and protect women and unborn babies from the violence of abortion,” she said.
Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com, and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the URL or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.