Fetal Heartbeat Bill Awaits Gov. Reynolds’ Signature

DES MOINES, Iowa -- A piece of legislation that would ban most abortions in Iowa after six weeks of pregnancy is one signature away from becoming the most restrictive abortion law in the country.

But there are questions about whether it would be found constitutional by the highest court.

Iowa isn't the first state to pass a fetal heartbeat bill, both North Dakota and Arkansas previously enacted similar measures but both were blocked by courts.

The bill not only makes it illegal for women to have an abortion after a heartbeat is detected. It also makes it illegal for a doctor to perform one. The bill does not have civil or criminal penalties for doctors who perform abortions. Planned Parenthood of the Heartland said its still dangerous. While pro-life advocates said doctors should be held to a higher standard.

The Planned Parenthood Director of Public Affairs Erin Davidson Rippey said, “If the governor signs this it will have a chilling effect on the practice of medicine doctors could potentially be prosecuted by county prosecutors.”

The Iowans for Life Executive Director Maggie Dewitte said, “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.”

We're still waiting on Governor Kim Reynolds to announce her stance on the bill.

However, her office released a statement yesterday saying in part, "Governor Reynolds is solidly pro-life and will never stop fighting to protect the unborn, however, she doesn't comment on any bill until seeing it in its final form."

The Attorney General's office says it is reviewing the bill and would give strong consideration to defending the law if challenged. The ACLU of Iowa says it is already preparing a possible lawsuit.