Iowa’s Republican-dominated Senate early Wednesday fast-tracked a bill that would make most abortions illegal once a fetal heartbeat can be detected.
The measure, which would effectively ban abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy, was passed earlier in the day by Iowa’s GOP-controlled House. Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds has not said whether she would sign the bill.
If it becomes law, the measure would make Iowa one of the most restrictive states in the country when it comes to abortion. Critics argue that it would prohibit abortions until after many women even realize they are pregnant. Current law in Iowa allows most abortions up to 20 weeks.
Republican state Rep. Shannon Lundgren said earlier this week that she believes the bill will pass.
“We’re in the majority for a reason and that includes advancing the pro-life cause,” she was quoted in The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier as saying.
“Republicans who debated Senate File 359 late into the night Tuesday said they hope their law will face a legal challenge so it can advance to the U.S. Supreme Court. Their goal is to overturn the 1973 landmark case Roe v. Wade, which established that women have a constitutional right to an abortion.
The Supreme Court has declined to hear similar cases in recent years. But as states continue to pass legislation restricting abortions and President Donald Trump appoints more conservative federal judges, such as Justice Neil Gorsuch, abortion opponents are increasingly optimistic.”
Groups such as Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, have come out against the bill.
Initially, the bill did not contain exceptions in cases of rape or incest, but amendments put forward by Republicans included them, according to the Register.