Iowa lawmakers pass 6-week abortion ban after state Supreme Court killed similar law

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Iowa's Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds will sign into law a newly passed bill banning abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected just weeks after the state's Supreme Court upheld a permanent block on a similar restriction previously enacted by the state legislature.

"Tonight, the Iowa legislature has passed — for a second time and by wider margins — legislation to protect life and end abortion at a heartbeat," Reynolds wrote in a Twitter post Tuesday evening. "[T]he voices of the unborn and their elected representatives will not be silenced any longer!"

A statement from Reynolds' office states that she intends to sign the measure into law on Friday, which would ban most abortions after around six weeks of gestation. The ban includes exceptions for cases in which the life of the mother is in danger, miscarriages and fetal abnormalities deemed to be "incompatible with life." It also includes exceptions for rape and incest. 

On Tuesday, the Republican-controlled Iowa House of Representatives voted to pass HF 732 in a 56-34 vote, and the Republican-controlled Iowa Senate approved the bill in a 32-17 vote. The votes in both chambers fell largely along party lines, with all support for the measure in the House coming from Republicans as two Republicans joined Democrats in opposition and one Republican joining all Democrats in opposing the legislation in the Senate.

The votes come less than a month after the Iowa Supreme Court deadlocked 3-3 over whether to allow a 2018 law banning abortions after six weeks gestation to go into effect. The court's deadlock enabled a permanent ban on the previous law implemented by a lower court to remain in place.

Adam Schwend, the western regional director of the pro-life grassroots organization Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, expressed gratitude in a statement praising the legislature for "acting swiftly on the will of the people" and to Reynolds for calling a special session to pass the pro-life legislation.

"Iowans recognize the humanity of unborn children with beating hearts and won't rest until they are protected," he added. "These protections will save lives."

The Iowa heartbeat bill facing a legal challenge remains a distinct possibility as Planned Parenthood Federation of America President and CEO Alexis McGill Johnson vowed that "we will see Gov. Reynolds in court" in a statement released following the Iowa legislature's approval of HF 732.

"Today, Iowans have been denied the freedom to decide what is best for their own lives and futures," she lamented.

"Inevitably, the brunt of harm will fall on Black, Latino, and Indigenous Iowans; Iowans with lower incomes; and Iowans who live in rural areas. Planned Parenthood will not stand for this," Johnson added.

When Reynolds signs the bill into law as expected, Iowa will join two dozen other states with pro-life protections on the books following the U.S. Supreme Court's June 2022 Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization ruling determining that the U.S. Constitution does not contain a right to abortion.

Data compiled by Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America reveals that 15 states have protections for unborn babies throughout all nine months of pregnancy, two states have 12-week abortion bans on the books while Florida has a 15-week abortion ban in effect. Iowa will join Georgia as one of two states that have enacted six-week abortion bans. An additional five states currently have their pro-life laws tied up in litigation.

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at:

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