Saturday March 23rd, 2019 4:57PM

Iowa lawmakers approve banning abortion at 'fetal heartbeat'

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Republican legislators sent Iowa's governor a bill early Wednesday that would ban most abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, usually around six weeks of pregnancy, propelling the state overnight to the front of a push among conservative statehouses jockeying to enact the nation's most-restrictive regulations on the procedure.

Critics say the so-called "heartbeat" bill, which now awaits the signature of anti-abortion GOP Gov. Kim Reynolds, would ban the medical procedure before some women even know they're pregnant. That could set up the state for a legal challenge over its constitutionality, including from the same federal appeals court that two years ago struck down similar legislation approved in Arkansas and North Dakota.

Backers of the legislation, which failed to get a single Democratic vote in either Iowa chamber, expressed hope it could challenge Roe vs. Wade, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling that established women have a right to terminate pregnancies until a fetus is viable. Conservatives say an influx of conservative judicial appointments under President Donald Trump could make it a possibility.

"Today we will begin this journey as Iowa becomes ground zero, now nationally, in the life movement," Sen. Rick Bertrand, a Republican from Sioux City, said during the floor debate.

Erin Davison-Rippey, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, said in a statement that the legislation was an "embarrassment" for the state.

"By passing an intentionally unconstitutional bill, Iowa Republicans have declared that they do not care about the foundational values of our state, or Iowa's future," she said. "They do not care how much taxpayer money will be spent on a lawsuit, they don't care how many women's lives will be damaged because of inadequate access to care, or how many families may choose to go elsewhere because Iowa is no longer a state where they are safe to live and work."

The House began debate over the measure early Tuesday afternoon, voting it out shortly before midnight with six Republicans there opposing it. The Senate then picked it up, with approval shortly after 2 a.m. Wednesday. The nearly back-to-back votes come as lawmakers seek to pass a state budget and tax cuts later this week.

Although Reynolds hasn't said publicly if she'll sign the bill into law, press secretary Brenna Smith said in an email the governor "is 100 percent pro-life and will never stop fighting for the unborn."

Several states have attempted to advance abortion bans in recent years. Mississippi passed a law earlier this year banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, but it's on hold after a court challenge. The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear similar heartbeat bills North Dakota and Arkansas approved in 2013 that were rejected by the appeals court.

The Iowa legislation contains some exemptions, including allowing abortions after a detectable heartbeat to save a pregnant woman's life or in some cases of rape and incest. Another provision prohibits some uses of fetal tissue, with exemptions for research. A woman would have to report a rape within 45 days to law enforcement or a physician to qualify for an exemption to the abortion ban. Incest must be reported within 140 days to receive an exemption.

Rep. Mary Wolfe, a Democrat from Clinton, said that "absolutely nothing" would stop a "desperate" woman from lying to a physician, who cannot investigate whether a pregnancy is the result of incest and cannot report it to law enforcement. Conversely, she said a child who is raped but delays reporting it until showing signs of pregnancy could be denied an abortion.

"Children who have been brutally raped, who are scared to death, who have little tiny bones and maybe forcing their rapist's baby out of there is not in their best interest — too bad for them under this law," Wolfe said.

The bill provides immunity to women receiving abortions but not to doctors who perform them. Their licenses could be revoked for violations, and prosecutors could consider criminal charges against them. That's not addressed by the bill.

Republicans at the Iowa Capitol have long sought to approve legislation that would further restrict abortion, and their flip of the state Senate chamber in the 2016 election gave them a trifecta of GOP power for the first time in nearly 20 years. Last session, they passed a bill banning most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, which is in effect.

A provision in that legislation requiring a three-day waiting period for abortions — among the longest wait periods in the country — was challenged in court. It remains on hold amid litigation being considered by the state Supreme Court.

Iowa Republicans have long said the 20-week ban was just the start.

"A baby has become something we can throw away. This bill says it's time to change the way we think about unborn life," said Rep. Sandy Salmon, a Janesville Republican.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Online Supreme Court News, AP Health, AP Business, AP Health - Women's health
© Copyright 2019
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Military cargo plane crashes in Georgia, killing 5
Authorities say an Air National Guard C-130 cargo plane has crashed near the airport for Savannah, Georgia
3:02PM ( 4 minutes ago )
Migrant caravan asylum bids mostly shielded from public view
Next steps for Central Americans asylum seekers will unfold mostly out of public view
2:49PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Officials: Teen planned mass shooting at Dallas-area mall
A suburban Dallas teen accused of planning a mass shooting at a mall inspired by the Islamic State terror group is charged with terrorism
2:35PM ( 32 minutes ago )
U.S. News
Michelle Obama, DeNiro, Zendaya fete college-bound kids
Philadelphia high school seniors have had the dance party of their lives, celebrating College Signing Day with Michelle Obama
3:00PM ( 7 minutes ago )
Man charged with trying to extort Kevin Hart with video
A man has been charged with trying to extort money from Kevin Hart by threatening to release video he had surreptitiously shot of the actor and comedian
2:55PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Palestinian leader's speech condemned as anti-Semitic
U.S., Israel condemn remarks by Palestinian president about the causes of 20th century anti-Semitism in Europe
2:55PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Benedict Arnold's hair to be displayed at fort he captured
A rarely displayed lock of infamous American traitor Benedict Arnold's hair will be exhibited at the fort he helped capture in opening weeks of the Revolutionary War
2:26PM ( 40 minutes ago )
Agency: Pilots caused 3 San Francisco airport close-calls
Federal authorities have determined that most of the close calls involving aircraft at San Francisco International Airport were caused by pilots
2:26PM ( 41 minutes ago )
New judge starts Penn State frat pledge's fall death hearing
A court hearing for 12 Penn State fraternity members related to the death of a pledge is underway with a replacement judge because the original jurist fell ill with the flu
2:24PM ( 42 minutes ago )
AP National News
The Latest: Pashinian claims needed 1/3 support for PM bid
The opposition lawmaker who has spearheaded mass protests in Armenia says all three opposition parties in parliament will nominate him for prime minister, which would oblige the ruling party to support him
1:10PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Ty Cobb, Trump's lawyer in Russia probe retiring
The White House lawyer Ty Cobb is retiring at the end of the month
12:50PM ( 2 hours ago )
Hawking's last physics paper argues for a 'simpler' cosmos
Stephen Hawking, who died in March, has delivered his last thoughts about the nature of the cosmos
12:46PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Teen gets 23 years in prison for Ohio high school shooting
A teenager who shot and critically wounded a classmate in an Ohio high school bathroom has been sentenced to over 23 years in prison
1:15PM ( 1 hour ago )
GOP groups take out ads to stoke Trump-Tester feud
Republican groups take out attack ads against Tester after Trump promises to make the Montana Democrat pay
12:57PM ( 2 hours ago )
Spokesman: Doctors pleased with George H.W. Bush's progress
A family spokesman says former President George H.W. Bush will remain hospitalized at least another day, but that doctors "are very pleased with his progress."
11:48AM ( 3 hours ago )
Top U.S. News short headlines
Trump to welcome teacher honored for work with refugees
President Donald Trump will welcome to the White House a teacher honored for her work with refugees
2:17PM ( 49 minutes ago )
Unlikely challenger to Massachusetts GOP governor emerges
Scott Lively, a pro-Donald Trump firebrand with a long history of anti-LGBT writings and speeches, has unexpectedly emerged as a Republican primary challenger to popular moderate Gov. Charlie Baker
12:52PM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: Pompeo says US faces opportunity on Korea
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the U.S. faces an "unprecedented opportunity" on the Korean peninsula as President Donald Trump prepares to meet with North Korea's Kim Jong Un.
12:36PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
AP Interview: Pashinian warns Armenia not to deploy troops
The opposition leader spearheading weeks of protest in Armenia warned the government Wednesday not to deploy troops and said the country's political crisis can't be solved by force
10:44AM ( 4 hours ago )
The Latest: Coffin protest held in Armenia's main square
Anti-government protesters in Armenia have carried a mock coffin and funeral flowers to symbolize what the opposition says is the death of the country's ruling party
10:06AM ( 5 hours ago )
Senate leader gets no support from 3 warring GOP candidates
Three U.S. Senate Republican candidates took turns refuting one another during a nationally televised debate in West Virginia
9:01AM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Annual Supreme Court guessing game: Will Kennedy stay or go?
The darkest fears of liberals and the fondest hopes of conservatives are that Justice Anthony Kennedy decides to retire and allow President Donald Trump to appoint another justice to cement conservative control of the Supreme Court
2:12PM ( 1 day ago )
Trump sharpens aim at Democrats facing election
President Donald Trump took aim at familiar political targets during a campaign-style rally in Michigan.
6:49AM ( 3 days ago )
Texas gang member executed for killing girl, grandmother
A prisoner on Texas death row for killing a 5-year-old girl and her grandmother in a gang-related shooting at a child's birthday party in Fort Worth a decade ago was executed Wednesday evening. .
8:25PM ( 6 days ago )
AP Online Supreme Court News
Doctor in badly botched abortion is tried for manslaughter
A doctor who performed an abortion that went wrong and caused a patient to bleed to death is on trial on manslaughter charges in New York City
8:44PM ( 18 hours ago )
Teen delivers baby after learning about childbirth in school
A northern Utah high school student delivered her aunt's baby Saturday, days after learning about childbirth in her child development class
2:32PM ( 1 day ago )
Scotland bans bargain-basement booze in public health move
Bargain booze has become a little more expensive in Scotland, which says it is the first country in the world to introduce minimum unit pricing for alcohol
12:55PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Health
F1 seeking to hold race in Miami starting in 2019
Formula One wants to hold a street race in Miami starting in 2019
1:56PM ( 1 hour ago )
US stocks edge higher as Apple jumps, drink makers stumble
US stocks are mostly higher as Apple rises after it posted its quarterly results and announced a $100 billion stock repurchase
1:46PM ( 1 hour ago )
Nacho Fries a hit at Taco Bell, but KFC drags Yum Brands
Nacho Fries a hit at Taco Bell, but chicken shortage at KFC hurts Yum Brands results
12:54PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Business
Prince charming: Kate gives birth to boy, home by suppertime
The Duchess of Cambridge has given birth to her third child, a newborn prince who is fifth in line to the British throne
3:36PM ( 1 week ago )
Royal baby: It's a boy for Kate on England's national day
Royal officials say the Duchess of Cambridge has given birth to a healthy baby boy
9:54AM ( 1 week ago )
NYC removes statue of doctor who experimented on slaves
A statue of a 19th century doctor who did experimental surgery without anesthesia on enslaved African-American women has been removed from New York's Central Park
2:19PM ( 2 weeks ago )
AP Health - Women's health
Military cargo plane crashes in Georgia, killing 5
Authorities say an Air National Guard C-130 cargo plane has crashed near the airport for Savannah, Georgia
3:02PM ( 4 minutes ago )
Migrant caravan asylum bids mostly shielded from public view
Next steps for Central Americans asylum seekers will unfold mostly out of public view
2:49PM ( 18 minutes ago )
Officials: Teen planned mass shooting at Dallas-area mall
A suburban Dallas teen accused of planning a mass shooting at a mall inspired by the Islamic State terror group is charged with terrorism
2:35PM ( 32 minutes ago )
As girls arrive, Boy Scouts change name of flagship program
With girls soon entering the ranks, the Boy Scouts of America says it's changing the name of its flagship program for older boys from Boy Scouts to Scouts BSA
2:31PM ( 35 minutes ago )
NRA agenda stalls despite gun-friendly Congress, president
NRA agenda is stalled despite GOP-led Congress and a gun-friendly president
2:26PM ( 41 minutes ago )