Mounting Concerns Over Fetal Heart Beat Bill

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  Early Wednesday morning state lawmakers passed a controversial bill that would ban most abortions in Iowa ... but the controversy surrounding it isn't over.

The so-called "fetal heartbeat bill" bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected.  That can be as early as six weeks after conception.  The bill does provide exceptions in cases of rape, incest and the health of the mother.  The bill also says mothers can't be criminally prosecuted for having an abortion.  It leaves out what could happen to the doctors that perform them.  The fate of the fetal heart beat bill is now in the hands of the governor.

“It is dangerous for woman in Iowa and it is blatantly unconstitutional and we are frankly horrified," Planned Parenthood of the Heartland Director of Public Affairs Erin Davidson Rippey said.

For some Iowans the passage of this bill is a victory.

“We think it is a real win for the prolife community and for the state of Iowa, Executive Director of Iowans for Life Maggie DeWitte said.

Planned Parenthood of Heartland says doctors who perform abortions are not protected under the bill.

“Referencing the board of medicine in this law does not preclude other criminal prosecution and those determinations will be left up to prosecutors and I think it was made clear this would have a chilling effect," Davidson said.

But pro-life advocates say that doctors should be held accountable.

“In the bill there are no criminal sanctions for woman or the doctors but of course doctors are held to a higher standard and that they are reviewed by the Iowa Board of Medicine and so and so there could be come licensing issues should they break the law," DeWitte said.

Not only potential licensing problems for doctors but also for the University of Iowa College of Medicine.

If abortions are limited, it could impact some student’s abilities to meet training requirements and put the accreditation for the OBGYN program at risk.

The governor has not given any indication on when she might sign this bill into law.