Iowa lawmakers passed a controversial "heartbeat" bill which prohibits women from seeking an abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected. It is one of the most restrictive, anti-abortion bills the country has ever seen, and Planned Parenthood has already deemed it "unconstitutional."
The “heartbeat” bill, which would ban abortions as early as six weeks — around the time women generally feel early signs of pregnancy and before many even realize they are pregnant — was passed Tuesday by the Iowa House, 51-46.
The bill would require women seeking an abortion to first have an ultrasound, at which time a physician would detect whether there is a heartbeat. The bill also would prohibit someone from acquiring, providing, receiving, transferring or using a fetal body part in Iowa. A violator could be charged with a Class C felony.
Iowa Rep. Steve King introduced the Heartbeat Protection Act in Congress earlier this year, which would ban abortion after six weeks. According to the bill, it would be a crime for a physician to "knowingly perform an abortion... without determining whether the fetus has a detectable heartbeat" first.
King cited the Carter administration, which defined life as starting at conception. “With the passage of time, the human organism grows from a single cell to a fully developed adult. Life begins when a male sperm unites with a female egg. The new life created from this union starts as a single cell,” the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services wrote during the Carter administration.
Reproductive rights advocates are outraged. Banning abortion at six weeks would essentially ban abortion entirely, considering most women don't even know they're pregnant at six weeks.
The ACLU issued a strong statement condemning the bill as both "unconstitutional" and morally wrong.
The attacks on reproductive rights just keep coming. Today, Congress held a hearing on a bill that would outlaw abortion as early as just six weeks of pregnancy. This amounts to an effective ban on abortion, as many women do not even know if they are pregnant by that time.
It’s not surprising that anti-choice activists feel emboldened by Donald Trump’s presidency to attack women’s health and rights — no matter if the bills they are pushing don’t stand a chance in court.