Iowa state legislators just passed a “heartbeat bill” that would ban abortions once a baby’s heartbeat can be detected, which usually occurs early in the first trimester — around the sixth week of pregnancy. If signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds, it would become the strictest abortion law in the nation.
After voting to advance the legislation known as Senate File 359 early Wednesday morning, Iowa Republicans indicated that they’re already gearing up for an intense, long-term legal battle.
According to the Des Moines Register, those who voted in favor of the bill are hoping the law will eventually face a legal challenge so it can advance to the U.S. Supreme Court. The end goal would be to overturn the controversial Roe v. Wade decision of 1973 that created the Constitutional “right” to abortion.
“The science and technology have significantly advanced since 1973,” said the bill’s floor manager, Iowa State Rep. Shannon Lundgren. “It is time for the Supreme Court to weigh in on the issue of life. It has taken decades for the science to catch up to what many have believed all along: that she’s a baby.”
The initial bill did not include any exceptions for abortions in cases of rape or incest. To ensure the bill’s passage, Republicans amended the legislation Tuesday to include those exceptions.
Iowa Republicans believe that with the pro-life Trump Administration and the appointment of conservative Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, the future is looking bright for opponents of abortion. If the law passes and is challenged in the courts, it could take up to four years to reach the Supreme Court. By that point, many conservatives believe that President Trump will have appointed one or two more pro-life justices.
“There’s a real decent chance that we’re going to wind up with another justice or two to tilt the balance a little bit, and we need to have a case in the pipeline,” Martin Cannon, a senior counsel for the Thomas More Society, told the Register.
According to the Register, similar abortion restrictions in Iowa have been met with intense opposition from pro-abortion groups like Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa. Such groups have deemed the latest bill unconstitutional, signaling an increasingly likely lawsuit on the horizon.
For now, however, Iowa’s heartbeat bill signifies a small but significant victory in what could shape up to be an historic fight to end abortion in America.
(H/T: Des Moines Register)