On Friday, Governor Kim Reynolds of Iowa signed the country’s most restrictive abortion ban into law. It is known as the fetal heartbeat bill. This bans abortion once cardiac activity is detected, which is quite often around the six-week mark.
Of course, this new law will be immediately challenged in court, but the victory and passage through the state legislature says much about grassroots support for life.
Governor Reynolds, a strong proponent of life, is not about to back down.
Her statement in North Iowa Today says as much:
“I believe that all innocent life is precious and sacred, and as governor, I pledged to do everything in my power to protect it. That is what I am doing today. I understand that not everyone will agree with this decision. But if death is determined when a heart stops beating, then doesn’t a beating heart indicate life? For me, it is immoral to stop an innocent beating heart. For me, it is sickening to sell fetal body parts. For me, my faith leads me to protect every Iowan, no matter how small.
“I understand and anticipate that this will likely be challenged in court, and that courts may even put a hold on the law until it reaches the Supreme Court. However, this is bigger than just a law. This is about life. I am not going to back down from who I am or what I believe in.”
The legislation places science at the forefront of the decision.
The law, which goes into effect on July 1 if not stopped by courts, will require physicians to conduct an abdominal ultrasound to test for a fetal heartbeat on any woman seeking an abortion. If a heartbeat is detected, a physician cannot perform an abortion. Experts said a fetal heartbeat can be detected about six weeks into a pregnancy and often before a woman realizes she’s pregnant.
Because national passage of pro-life legislation is incredibly difficult, state legislatures have taken it upon themselves to see that life is protected and even small gains are made. Currently, eighteen states have 20-week abortion bans on the books and holding. In March, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed a 15-week abortion ban. As expected, it was immediately challenged in court.
As I wrote recently in States Are Ground Zero In Abortion Fight As Talk Of Revisiting Roe V. Wade Increases, pro-aborts are nervous about the gradual pro-life victories at the state level as they chip away at abortion “rights” slowly, and sometimes with little notice.
And a court challenge to one of these laws could go all the way to the Supreme Court.
Backers of the legislation, which failed to get a single Democratic vote in either Iowa chamber, expressed hope it could challenge Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that established women have a right to terminate pregnancies until a fetus is viable. Conservatives say an influx of right-leaning judicial appointments under President Donald Trump could make it a possibility.
I did not try to reach Planned Parenthood for comment, but I’m sure they are devastated. They charge up to $1,500 for first trimester abortions.
Changing our culture of death to a culture of life will be a long journey. But with this Iowa legislation, we inch closer to protecting the unborn when their life begins; at conception.
The views expressed here are those of the author and do not represent those of any other individual or entity. Follow Kimberly Ross on Twitter: @southernkeeks.