Iowa’s female Republican governor, Kim Reynolds, signed the nation’s strictest anti-abortion bill into law Friday. Known as the heartbeat bill, the new law prohibits abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detected, usually around 6 weeks. Just last year, the Iowa legislature passed a 20-week abortion ban which made it one of the nation’s most restrictive. At the time, the heartbeat ban didn’t have enough support to pass in the state legislature so the 20-week ban was a compromise.
With a Republican-led legislature and a Republican governor, promises were made to continue to fight to go further and now the adamantly pro-life governor has kept her commitment.
“I believe that all innocent life is precious and sacred,” Reynolds said from her formal office before signing a bill that will outlaw nearly all abortions in the state. “And as governor, I have pledged to do everything in my power to protect it. And that’s what I’m doing today.”
The promises of a legal challenge have already been declared. Protesters were heard to chant the quintessential pro-abortion phrase, “My body, my choice” as Governor Reynolds signed the bill into law. Exceptions to the ban are rape, incest, and fetal anomaly. There were no Democrat votes in the affirmative in either the state House or state Senate but a few Republicans voted against the bill.
Senate File 359 will take effect July 1, though Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa said they plan to quickly challenge the law.
The legal challenge is an uphill battle, with even the pro-lifers acknowledging that fact.
The goal of the legislation is to prevent the deaths of thousands of unborn babies every year. However, even some pro-life advocates admit that the success of the legislation is uncertain. While the rationale behind the bill is noble, a number of pro-life leaders recognize that, for the present, such bills may create unintended consequences that could hamper the pro-life cause.
Because of the current make-up of the U.S. Supreme Court and lower courts, a law to prohibit abortions in the first trimester most likely would not survive a court challenge. President Donald Trump promised to appoint pro-life justices to the courts, but he would have to appoint at least one more Supreme Court judge before the Iowa legislation would have a chance of being upheld.
North Dakota and Arkansas passed heartbeat bills several years ago, but federal courts struck down both laws.
The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals said the following about its ruling on the six-week ban: “Because there is no genuine dispute that (North Dakota’s law) generally prohibits abortions before viability — as the Supreme Court has defined that concept — and because we are bound by Supreme Court precedent holding that states may not prohibit pre-viability abortions, we must affirm the district court’s grant of summary judgment to the plaintiffs.”
— Gov. Kim Reynolds (@IAGovernor) May 4, 2018
Also on Friday, South Carolina Democrats in the state House blocked legislation that would effectively ban all abortions even though the state Senate passed such legislation earlier in the week. The exceptions for rape, incest, and medical emergencies were also included in this bill.
The controversial bill was the subject of a long, heated debate in the state legislature. Beginning Thursday, pro-abortion Democrats in the House filibustered the bill, and by early Friday morning, lawmakers voted to send the bill back to committee, WLTX News 19 reports. The vote was 24-21. Because there only are three days left in the legislative session, the vote basically killed the bill.
And from The State:
Banning abortion has been a priority of Republican candidates for governor and the state GOP during this election season. The proposal would have banned some 97 percent of the roughly 5,700 abortions performed in South Carolina each year.
“Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant, an Anderson Republican who is running for governor, urged Republican voters who oppose abortion to look at the roll call and ‘share their disappointment’ with those who voted to kill the measure.”https://t.co/SlFQ3vswuj
— Kevin Bryant for Governor (@kevinbryantsc) May 4, 2018
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said he would sign the bill if it reached his desk. If this bill had passed, the same legal battle would have taken place.
This battle has been going on since the Roe v Wade decision in 1973. Conservatives believe the Supreme Court of the United States overreached by justifying legal abortion under the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. It looks like it will take the Supreme Court to overturn it. That will take a solid, pro-life Republican majority. The very people who wanted the government to make the decision in 1973 now declare that government has no place in the decision. Funny how that works.