Iowa Republicans Pass Heartbeat Bill In Late-Night Special Session

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Kate Anderson Contributor
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The Iowa legislature passed a fetal heartbeat ban on abortions Tuesday night after Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds called lawmakers back for a special session.

The bill bans abortions in the state after fetal cardiac activity is detected, except in the limited cases of rape and incest or to save the life of the mother, and requires doctors to check a pregnant woman for a heartbeat, according to the legislation. Republican lawmakers scrambled to put legislation together after Reynolds called them back to the capitol to get the bill passed after the state’s Supreme Court killed a similar ban by declaring it unconstitutional in June. (RELATED: Iowa Supreme Court Kills Governor’s Bid To Reinstate Six-Week Abortion Ban)

Reynolds applauded the efforts of the legislature and criticized the state’s Supreme Court ruling, according to a press release.

“Today, the Iowa legislature once again voted to protect life and end abortion at a heartbeat, with exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother,” Reynolds said. “The Iowa Supreme Court questioned whether this legislature would pass the same law they did in 2018, and today they have a clear answer. The voices of Iowans and their democratically elected representatives cannot be ignored any longer, and justice for the unborn should not be delayed.”

The special session provoked large protests, with many Iowans filling the state capitol with signs and chants of “Let us speak” and “Let us in,” according to KCCI, a local media outlet. Iowa Democratic Party Chair Rita Hart was similarly displeased with the legislation and released a statement following the bill’s passage, arguing that the move was only to “impress the most extreme members of their party.”

“Iowa Republicans made it clear when they voted to enact a six-week abortion ban that they will do anything to impress the most extreme members of their party, even if it means ignoring the will of their voters and our state Supreme Court,” Hart said. I’m proud of our Democratic lawmakers who helped make women’s voices heard today and stood strong while they opposed stricter abortion laws that the majority of Iowans do not support. It’s time to elect more Democratic candidates who will continue to put people over politics, work to create balance, and protect our fundamental rights.”

Despite this, the legislation was passed by wider margins than in 2018 when the state passed a similar six-week law, according to Reynolds. The governor said in her press release that she intends to sign the bill into law on Friday and upon receiving her signature the legislation would go into effect immediately.

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