On May 4th, Governor Reynolds signed Iowa’s Senate File 359 into law. Effective July 2018, SF 359 bans abortion at the point when a heartbeat is detected, or approximately six weeks gestational age – before many people may realize they are pregnant. The law includes exceptions for medical emergency, rape, and incest. The American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood have announced that they will sue the state to block the unconstitutional law. Opponents of the law consider legislation like this to be an attempt to challenge Roe v. Wade. Similar legislation in North Dakota and Arkansas was struck down by a federal court in 2015 with the Supreme Court declining to review an appeal in the Arkansas case in 2016; Ohio’s governor Kasich vetoed a similar ban in 2016.
Ten states have introduced similar so-called “heartbeat bans” in the current legislative session. For more information on the status of proposed bans in these states, see the ReWire legislative tracker.
Ingber S. (2018, May 5). NPR. Iowa Bans Most Abortions As Governor Signs 'Heartbeat' Bill.
Reuters (2018, May 4). Iowa governor signs 'fetal heartbeat' abortion ban into law.
Shaw M (2018, May 5). Time. Iowa's new six-week 'heartbeat' abortion bill is a blatant attempt to reverse Roe v. Wade.