'Protect Innocent Life': Iowa's Pro-Life Heartbeat Bill to Be Signed Into Law
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The battle over abortion took center stage in Iowa Tuesday as lawmakers kicked off a special session to consider legislation that would ban most abortions after the baby's unique heartbeat is detected.
The legislation, HF-732, passed 32-17 with exclusively Republican support late into the night.
"This bill protects unborn children in Iowa," Republican state-Rep. Shannon Lundgren said. "This bill sets a clear standard where the state has an interest in the life of the child when the baby's heart starts beating. Where there is a heartbeat, there is life."
The bill will head to Gov. Kim Reynolds to be signed Friday.
Reynolds called the special session essentially to revive a heartbeat bill enacted back in 2018 that had been struck down by the state's high court.
In light of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade last summer, Gov. Reynolds aimed to revive the bill to protect the lives of the unborn.
"Now is the time for us to stand up and continue the fight to protect the unborn," said. Gov. Reynolds in a statement. "The Supreme Court's historic decision reaffirms that states have the right to protect the innocent and defenseless unborn—and now it's time for our state to do just that. As governor, I will do whatever it takes to defend the most important freedom there is, the right to life."
The special legislative session lasted more than 14 hours with tense objections from Democratic lawmakers and abortion advocates protesting at the Capitol.
Shortly after 11 p.m. Tuesday, the bill was approved.
The bill limits abortion after six weeks, once the baby's heartbeat is detectable, but has exceptions for rape, incest, danger to the life of the mother, and miscarriages.
"For far too long, flawed Court rulings at the state and federal levels have blocked many of our attempts to listen to Iowans and expand pro-life protections," said Speaker Pat Grassley. "Iowa House Republicans' goal is to protect the lives of the unborn. That's why I support the Governor's decision on these legal actions as the best path forward to protect innocent life."
Abortion is currently legal in Iowa up to 20 weeks of pregnancy.
The heartbeat bill will take immediate effect with the governor's signature on Friday.
"The unborn child is a distinct human life with her own value, with her own DNA, and with her own right to life and right to legal protections," said Sara Eide of the Iowa Catholic Conference. "As a state and as a society, we should commit ourselves to protect all vulnerable populations wherever we find them."
Abortion advocates are already preparing to quickly file legal challenges in court and get the measure blocked.
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