Today, after nearly two hours of discussion, the Iowa House Republicans adopted a 20-week abortion ban amendment, approving the bill 11-8.
Along with cutting off access to an abortion after 20 weeks, the amendment states that life begins at fertilization, allows an exemption for the life and health of the mother, and would subject physicians who violate the law to medical board discipline. While this is a set-back to reproductive rights, it could have been worse. Not even 24 hours ago, the Iowa Republicans originally backed new legislation that would have banned abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, reported the New York Times.
If it had been left the way it was originally proposed, the bill would have prohibited women from abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as six weeks — sometimes, women don’t even know that they’re pregnant at that point.
The proposal came with provisions that could be best described as ridiculous:
-A pregnant woman will need to wait three days before she can get an abortion.
-A woman seeking an abortion would be given material that encourages adoption; she would also need to sign documentation acknowledging she was told a heartbeat was detected and the statistical probability of bringing the pregnancy to term.
-A woman or her spouse could sue a doctor for performing an abortion, and parents could sue the physician if the woman was a minor or unmarried.
According to the Washington Post, House GOP lawmakers removed the part of the bill that called for a ban on abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, and removed a few of the provisions, including the 72-hour-waiting period and possible lawsuits against doctors who perform abortions. In the most updated form (which passed), the bill focused on banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Iowa was not the first to propose a “heartbeat bill"; other states, including Ohio, Kansas, Arkansas and North Dakota, among others, have tried in the past.
While it could have been much worse for the women of Iowa, this is bad enough, and the fact still remains that we are in a period of time where our reproductive rights, regardless of what state we live in, are under attack. Although Neil Gorsuch, President Trump's pick for Supreme Court (who will most likely receive confirmation), has said that he and Trump have not spoken about overturning Roe v. Wade, Gorsuch is socially conservative and has been supported by anti-abortion voters in the past. Stay angry, keep protesting, and don't give up without a fight.
Top Photo via Flickr/Lorie Shaull