Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds Signs Restrictive ‘Fetal Heartbeat’ Abortion Ban Into Law

Charlie NeibergallAssociated Press

On Friday, May 4, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed the controversial “Fetal Heartbeat” abortion bill into law, effectively making the state the most difficult in the union in which to terminate a pregnancy. As reported by the Associated Press, Reynolds, a Republican, signed the legislation in her office at the Iowa Capitol, as demonstrators outside shouted “My body, my choice!”

“Reynolds acknowledged that the new law would likely face litigation, but said: ‘This is bigger than just a law, this is about life, and I’m not going to back down.’ Reynolds has previously said she was proud to be pro-life,'” the AP story reported.

As previously reported by the Inquisitr, the Iowa legislature passed Senate File 359 on Wednesday. The newly-minted law, known as the “Fetal Heartbeat Bill,” will make it illegal for women who are pregnant to terminate a pregnancy if a heartbeat can be detected. The state’s previous standard made abortion illegal after 20 weeks, but the new law will shrink that window to as few as six weeks.

Critics say this new law is an aggressive challenge to Roe v. Wade, with intentions to rally conservatives before November’s midterm election. The controversial law is expected to face intense scrutiny and lawsuits, in the wake of its passage. Much of the outrage centers on the idea that many women would be unaware that they’re even pregnant before the ability to terminate a pregnancy is no longer an option.

Protesters at Kim Reynolds' office amid new abortion law.
Protesters rally outside Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds' formal office on Friday.Featured image credit: Charlie NeibergallAssociated Press

“Except in the case of a medical emergency or when the abortion is medically necessary, a physician shall not perform an abortion unless the physician has first complied with the prerequisites of chapter 146A and has tested the pregnant woman as specified in this subsection, to determine if a fetal heartbeat is detectable,” the Iowa law states.

The Iowa abortion law does provide for exceptions in the case of rape, incest, and fetal abnormalities.

“I am here to tell Governor Reynolds, We will see you in court,” said Suzanna de Baca, president of the Heartland division of Planned Parenthood, according to a Reuters report.

“We will challenge this law with absolutely everything we have on behalf of our patients, on behalf of your rights, because Iowa will not go back.”

The severity of this law surpassed Mississippi’s recent act, called the Gestational Age Act, which was the strictest abortion law in the country. The Under the Gestational Age Act was passed in March 2018. With exclusions for severe fetal abnormality or a medical emergency, the Mississippi law prohibits abortions after 15 weeks of gestation.

While supporters of these new restrictive abortion laws say that this is a step forward for justice, critics feel it’s another overstep by the government obstructing the rights of women. Arkansas and North Dakota have both passed similar extreme abortion laws in the past, and both were quickly voided by the courts as unconstitutional. Those opposing the abortion law backed by Governor Kim Reynolds hope for a similar outcome.