Iowa lawmakers approve the most restrictive US abortion bill

Rep. Shannon Lundgren R-Peosta speaks in the Iowa House Tuesday

Republican Governor Kim Reynolds, who is anti-abortion, has yet to publicly state if she will sign into the law or not.

The bill would allow abortions AFTER the sixth week of pregnancy in limited circumstances, such as a medical emergency, a fetal abnormality or if the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest.

"Middle-class and upper-class women always have access", Wessel-Kroeschell said.

Senate File 359, if signed into law, would ban almost all abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected.

The ban approved by the Midwestern state's Republican-controlled legislature is considered the most restrictive in the country. Rick Bertrand, a Republican from Sioux City, said during the floor debate. As amended, he said, an unborn child is not legally defined as a person, so an abortion in violation of the legislation does not meet the statutory definition of murder.

"Republicans who debated Senate File 359 late into the night Tuesday said they hope their law will face a legal challenge so it can advance to the U.S. Supreme Court". Her press secretary, Brenna Smith, indicated in an email the governor was open to signing it. "My Republican colleagues, this is the vote of your career".

The so-called "heartbeat" bill would require any woman seeking an abortion to have an ultrasound to screen for a foetal heartbeat.

There were 3,719 abortions performed in Iowa in 2016, and all but 230 abortions-6.2 percent-were performed prior to 14 weeks of pregnancy, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health.

"All women, regardless of age, income or race, should be able to obtain reproductive health services, including abortion, free from political and economic barriers", Ms Wessel-Kroeschell said. A federal appeals court, whose territory includes Iowa, rejected heartbeat bills passed in 2013 in North Dakota and Arkansas. A woman would have to report a rape within 45 days to law enforcement or a physician to qualify for an exemption to the abortion ban.

The bill adds to abortion restrictions passed by the Iowa Legislature in 2017 that included a 20-week abortion ban and a 72-hour waiting period.

If the bill becomes law, the legal battles against it from pro-choice advocates will nearly certainly land the challenge before higher courts.

"Middle-class and upper-class women always have access", she said.

Six Republican representatives voted against the bill. "This law, if signed, I believe could very well be the very bill that overturns Roe v. Wade", said one Republican state Senator.

The bill doesn't call for criminal prosecution of a woman getting an abortion, but doesn't include language about what happens to doctors who flout the law. These women can afford the plane ticket or auto fuel and possible hotel stays they need to accommodate an out-of-state abortion.

"I believe arguments of the accreditation, while well-intentioned, are specious ..." said Rep. Jon Jacobsen, R-Treynor.

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