Iowa Governor Signs Strictest Abortion Bill In The United States

by Thea Glassman
Image via Bill Clark/Getty

The “heartbeat bill” goes into effect on July 1

Women were dealt a painful blow in Iowa this past Friday. Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a bill that bans abortions once the fetal heartbeat has been detected, which can be as little as six weeks.

So, yes, that means some women won’t even know that they’re pregnant before being forced to make a decision that might not be their own.

Here’s what you need to know about this new law, which has been dubbed the “heartbeat bill.” It will be put into action on July 1, and only provides three exceptions to its rule. If a woman’s life is in danger, she can have an abortion. Also, if a woman is raped or the baby is the product of incest she can choose to have an abortion — but only if the rape is reported within 45 days, and the incest is reported within 140 days.

Yup, they’re literally putting an expiration date on dealing with trauma.

There’s a good chance that this law will be challenged — which could be exactly what GOP lawmakers want. If this bill is turned into a case for the Supreme Court, conservatives make up the majority. This could lead to a complete overhaul of abortion rights.

“We created an opportunity to take a run at Roe v. Wade – 100 percent,” Republican state Senator Rick Bertrand told Reuters. Reynolds added in a statement: “I understand and anticipate that this will likely be challenged in court. This is bigger than just a law, this is about life, and I’m not going to back down.”

Luckily, similar “heartbeat bills” from North Dakota and Arkansas were struck down and declared unconstitutional by the federal appeals court. That being said, many people are still — understandably — pretty scared and upset. Those in the pro-choice camp took to Twitter to slam the new bill.

The ACLU and Planned Parenthood are suing over the bill. “We will challenge this law with absolutely everything we have on behalf of our patients because Iowa will not go back,” Suzanna de Baca, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, noted in a statement.

Hopefully, this all ends swiftly, efficiently, and in the favor of women who deserve the right to decide what happens to their body and their future.