Iowa Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds Signs Nation’s Most Restrictive Abortion Law
On Friday, a few days after it was approved by the GOP-dominated state legislature, Iowa Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds signed into law the country’s most restrictive abortion bill to date, banning the procedure after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which is typically after just six weeks.
“I understand and anticipate that this will likely be challenged in court, and that courts may even put a hold on the law until it reaches the Supreme Court,” Reynolds said in a statement after the bill’s signing. “This is bigger than just a law. This is about life.”
According to the the Des Moines Register, the “fetal heartbeat” bill also known as Senate File 359 is being met with mixed reactions though a state. In a 1978 poll, five years after Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court case that legalized abortion across the United States, “53 percent of Iowans believed [that] life starts at conception although 53 percent also said they supported legalized abortion in a variety of circumstances.” This year, a poll showed that 55 percent of Iowans favored defining life as beginning at conception.
Iowa has also experienced a decline in the overall number of abortions with a 44% drop reported over the recent decade. According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, the most recent data available from 2016 showed a total of 3,722 abortions across the state markedly down when compared to 6,728 a decade earlier.
Mary Peverill, a 63-year-old lifelong Republican, told The Register, “It’s much safer to have it done in a licensed clinic,” she said. “Otherwise, we’ll return to backdoor channels and do-it-yourself abortions. We don’t need to go backwards.”
Iowa’s new strict abortion law comes less than two months after Mississippi attempted to prohibit abortion after 15 weeks. In Kentucky, lawmakers attempted to prohibit the procedure after just 11 weeks. Both states had their laws blocked by the courts.
Republicans flexing of their ideological muscles may be a direct effect of their prospects surrounding President Donald Trump‘s possibly future Supreme Court appointments. After Neil Gorsuch‘s controversial appointment to the bench last year, most observers believed that the court would be more open to abortion restrictions. But a recent article by The Federalist noted, “the Supreme Court is on a record slow pace for deciding cases this term, leading to speculation that the justices are having a hard time incorporating their newest colleague, Neil Gorsuch.”