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Iowa passes fetal heartbeat bill, 9th state in the US

Doctor listening for fetal heartbeat

Karkhut | Shutterstock

J-P Mauro - published on 07/14/23

The bill passed the state House and Senate in a special legislative session on Tuesday night. The governor is expected to sign on Friday.

The Iowa legislature has passed a bill that would limit abortions after a baby’s heartbeat is detected. Known as a “fetal heartbeat bill,” similar laws have been passed in Ohio, Georgia, Louisiana, Missouri, Alabama, Kentucky, South Carolina, and Texas. Now, Iowa joins their ranks, passing the bill that will ultimately ban abortion past about six weeks into the pregnancy. 

Both the House and Senate stayed late into the night on Tuesday for a special legislative session in which they voted on House File 732. According to local news outlet KCCI8 Des Moines, the House passed the bill with a vote of 56-34, before sending it to the Senate at 9:00 in the evening. The Senate then held their own vote, passing the bill 32-17, by 11 p.m. Tuesday.

The bill is now on its way to the desk of Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, who has already stated that she would sign the bill into law. Reynolds is expected to do so Friday, during the Family Leadership Summit at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center in Des Moines. The law would go into effect immediately after the governor signs it. 

While the votes were all held in one day, it was a long five hours of debate in both the House and the Senate before the votes could be tallied. A large crowd of protesters shouted outside the building for the duration of the proceedings.

In the House, Minority Leader Jennifer Konfrst D-Polk, said she did not like the restrictions, but appreciated that the bill left exceptions for victims of rape and incest, as well as in cases where the mother’s life is in danger by the pregnancy. The law would require victims of rape to report the occurrence within 45 days of the pregnancy, while victims of incest must be reported within 140 days. Democrat representatives reportedly tried and failed to include exceptions in regards to a mother’s failing mental health. 

According to the Iowa Capital Dispatch, State Rep. Luana Stoltenberg, who has spoken about having three abortions in the past, commented: 

“I’d like to speak up for my three children who lost their life and died by abortion,” Stoltenberg said. “I’d like to speak up for the 65 million plus other children that died by abortion and will never get to speak. I’d like to speak up for the women who have been hurt by abortion and are too ashamed and too filled with guilt to be able to speak.

“I was told that it was just a blob of tissue, that it was easy and it was safe. That was a lie. Those abortions caused me not to be able to have children. Every day I live with the reality that I killed the only children I would ever have.”

Meanwhile in the Senate, Republican Sen. Chris Cournoyer mused: 

“When a life is determined to be over when a heartbeat ends, then why would a life not begin when a heartbeat is detected? Unless action is taken to end that heartbeat, it is a human life that deserves to live and have the opportunity to reach his or her full potential.”

AbortionLawUnited States
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