DES MOINES, Iowa – The Iowa Legislature passed in a special session on Tuesday, HF 732, a bill that would ban abortions at the time a fetal heartbeat is detected at approximately six weeks. Gov. Kim Reynolds said she would sign the bill on Friday.
Iowa law currently allows abortion up to 20 weeks.
The special session was called after the Iowa Supreme Court failed to lift a permanent injunction of the six week abortion ban passed in 2018. Three justices who were against lifting the injunction called the ban a “hypothetical law” since it was passed before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 2022.
The Iowa House passed the bill 56 to 34, State Reps. Mark Cisneros, R-Muscatine, and Zach Dieken, R-Granville, were the only Republicans to join with Democrats in voting against the bill, believing the bill was “window dressing” for failing to act on the issue. Ten state representatives were absent from the special session. The Iowa Senate passed the bill after 11:00p, with State Senator Mike Klimesh, R-Spillville, joining Democrats to vote against the bill.
The bill allows exceptions for rape and incest (reported to law enforcement, public health agency, or physician), if a physician states there is a fetal abnormality incompatible with life, if there is a miscarriage that requires a D&C, or a medical emergency that threatens a mother’s life or will “create a serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.”
“Iowans know we are a pro-life caucus and they have continued to grow our majority,” Iowa House Speaker Pat Grassley, R-New Hartford, said in a released statement. “While Democrats across the country continue to devalue the life of an unborn child, Iowa House Republicans are following through on our promise to protect life.”
“This bill protects unborn children in Iowa,” State Rep. Shannon Lundgren, R-Peosta, the floor manager for the bill. “This bill sets a clear standard where the state has an interest in the life of a child – when the baby’s heart starts beating. Where there is a heartbeat – there is life.”
“Two beating hearts have done much to frame who I am and why I am such an advocate of this bill. The first was the beating heart of my first child, Evan. In 1995 at 19 years old I discovered I was pregnant. It was unplanned, and I was unprepared to be a mother, lost in how to move forward. At the doctor’s visit, where the pregnancy was confirmed, a device was placed on my abdomen and I heard my son’s heart for the first time. There was no question that he was alive and functioning independently of me. The other was in 2002 at the end of my father’s life: his heart stopped beating. I knew the man who had raised me was no longer alive. In each of those cases, the heartbeat, or the lack of one, was an indication of another individual person’s life,” State Senator Amy Sinclair, R-Allerton, said in her closing remarks about the bill.
“The Iowa Supreme Court questioned whether this legislature would pass the same law they did in 2018, and today they have a clear answer. The voices of Iowans and their democratically elected representatives cannot be ignored any longer, and justice for the unborn should not be delayed,” Gov. Kim Reynolds said after the bill passed. As a pro-life Governor, I am also committed to continuing policies to support women in planning for motherhood, promote the importance of fatherhood, and encourage strong families. Our state and country will be stronger because of it.”