IOWA PASSED THE MOST RESTRICTIVE ABORTION BILL IN THE UNITED STATES. NOW WHAT?

Protesters rally outside Kim Reynolds’ office on Friday. Photo by Charlie Neibergall/AP.

On May 4th, Iowa governor Kim Reynolds signed one of the most restrictive abortion bills in the United States. Dubbed the “heartbeat bill,” the new legislation would ban abortions after six weeks, the point at which doctors can detect a faint heartbeat in a fetus. However, many women don’t even realize they’re pregnant at six weeks. The law, if it goes into effect on July 1st, is an aggressive affront to Roe v. Wade, which pro-lifers across the country have been working to overturn since the election of Donald Trump.

The good news? Organizations including the ACLU and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund plan to sue Reynolds, which means the law will likely go to the Supreme Court, delaying it. When states such as North Dakota and Arkansas have previously attempted to pass similarly restrictive abortion measures, courts have voided them as unconstitutional. Historically, the Supreme Court has given women the right to abortion until the fetus is viable outside the womb, typically around 24 weeks into pregnancy.

Governor Kim Reynolds in 2017. Photo by John Pemble.

Hopefully, courts won’t stray from this pattern of ruling when it comes to Iowa’s new law. “Under this shameful legislation, a 12-year-old child raped by a family member would be forced to carry her child to term, as the bill doesn’t even make exemptions for cases of rape, incest, or age. Even if the bill had those exceptions, it would still be a disgrace, and it is just the latest assault in an all-out on war on women by Iowa Republicans,” Democratic National Committee women’s media director Elizabeth Renda said. Dr. Jamila Perritt, a fellow with Physicians for Reproductive Health, also criticized the bill: “The likelihood that an individual can miss her period, get a pregnancy test, then make an appointment to see an abortion provider, take time off of work if she’s working, find child care for her other children, get in to get her abortion and have all of that done prior to a six-week time period is absolutely unrealistic and unreasonable,” she said.

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