Iowa appears poised to enact the nation’s toughest abortion law, outlawing abortion when the baby’s heartbeat is detected, as early as six weeks.
The legislation was approved by the Iowa legislature Wednesday night and now heads to Gov. Kim Reynolds, a Republican, who has indicated she might sign the bill. Her spokeswoman, Brenna Smith, said in an email to World Magazine, “Governor Reynolds is 100 percent pro-life and will never stop fighting for the unborn.”
Iowa abortion law could challenge Roe v. Wade
Other states have tried to introduce similar bans, only to have them overruled by the U.S. Supreme Court. But lawmakers acknowledged and even welcomed the near certainty that pro-abortion groups would challenge the measure in court once it became law.
State Sen. Jake Chapman, from Adel, Iowa, said he would “love for the United States Supreme Court to look at this bill and have this as a vehicle to overturn Roe v. Wade,” the 1973 decision that legalized abortions of babies who could not survive outside the womb.
“We at the state legislatures, especially Republican-controlled legislatures, have a responsibility to kind of reload,” State Senator Rick Bertrand told the New York Times. “We need to create vehicles that will allow the Supreme Court possibly to reach back and take this case, and to take up an anti-abortion case.”
One of Iowa’s congressmen, Rep. Steve King, supported the measure and cheered its passage in the the Iowa General Assembly. He also sees the law as a catalyst to ending legal abortion.
“It was a pleasure supporting the efforts of members of Iowa’s House and Senate to secure passage of Senate File 359. Legislators share my belief, and the belief of the many pro-life organizations that joined in this effort, that the time is right for a challenge to Roe v. Wade to occur.”
“On the federal level, we have a pro-life House of Representatives, a pro-life United States Senate, a pro-life President and a United States Supreme Court that may well be receiving a new Constitutionalist Justice in the near future.”
“We should pair a federal Heartbeat Bill with the Iowa Heartbeat Bill to set the stage for the complete overturn of the Supreme Court’s terrible Roe v. Wade decision.”
Rep. King, who quipped, “If a heartbeat is detected, the baby must be protected,” introduced the federal Heartbeat Protection Act. It has 171 cosponsors, and the support of 162 pro-life organizations and leaders.
While the Iowa legislation has larger political implications, many pro-life groups dismiss suggestions the bill is nothing more than a legal maneuver or a political strategy.
“This legislation affirms the scientific fact that human life begins at conception,” the American Family Association, a conservative Christian group based in Mississippi, said in a statement. “Those of us who are against abortion have no hidden agenda. Our goal is plain and simple—to once and for all end the horrible practice of abortion and to create a society that values life from conception to natural death.”
The Iowa legislation has been widely criticized by pro-abortion groups as taking women’s rights in the state back 50 years.