Surrounded by moms and babies, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a new law Friday to prohibit abortions after an unborn baby has a detectable heartbeat. The new law bans nearly all abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which typically happens around six weeks into a pregnancy and before many women even suspect they are pregnant.
Reynolds' signature came shortly after state Planned Parenthood affiliates and the left-wing American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) threatened a lawsuit to block the law's enforcement, CBS News reports. "[Reynolds] is following through on her pledge to the people of Iowa that she is 100 percent pro-life".
Planned Parenthood is Iowa's largest provider of abortions but does not have a Sioux City office.
"We will challenge this law with absolutely everything we have on behalf of our patients, on behalf of your rights, because Iowa will not go back". Reynolds has no documentary evidence or other records explaining why she ordered the abrupt firing of longtime ally Iowa Finance Authority director David Jamison, who was accused of workplace sexual harassment, her office says.
But the Supreme Court has previously been hostile to "heartbeat" laws.
Elizabeth Nash, senior state issues manager with the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute, described what she sees as a kind of race to see which state can be the most restrictive. "This is bad for Iowa". "This should be deeply concerning to anyone who believes women should be allowed to make decisions about their bodies and control their destinies, and we now look to the courts to defend our essential human rights".
In a joint statement Friday morning, Archbishop Michael Jackels of Dubuque and Bishops Thomas Zinkula of Davenport, R. Walker Nickless of Sioux City and Richard Pates of Des Moines called on the judiciary to recognize life.
A federal appeals court in recent years has struck down similar legislation approved in Arkansas and North Dakota, but conservatives say an influx of right-leaning judicial appointments under President Donald Trump could produce a different outcome in the future.
"We couldn't be more pleased", DeWitte said Friday.
Reaction from around the state and across the country was predictable.
SF 359 is expected to stop most abortions, starting between 6-8 weeks. This would not apply to medical diagnostic samples, or forensic investigations, or to fetal body parts donated for medical research after a miscarriage or stillbirth.