Iowa Lawmakers Still Divided Over Fetal Heartbeat Bill

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  Iowa lawmakers are still debating a bill that would regulate the use of fetal tissue in Iowa.

The bill includes an amendment that would ban abortions at the first sign of a fetal heartbeat.

"The big question before us is 'what is life?'"

Iowa House Republicans seem well on their way to answering that question in hopes of passing the controversial fetal heartbeat bill, making abortion illegal in Iowa after the first detection of a heartbeat that could be as early as six weeks gestation.

"With this bill, we make Iowa safe for the unborn child," said Representative Sandy Salmon, a Republican from Black Hawk County.

The amended bill that allows exceptions for rape, incest, and the mother's health is dividing party lines.

"I'm angered because we stomped on women's rights," said Democratic Representative Jo Oldson of Polk County.

Democratic Representative Sharon Steckman strongly opposed the bill, bringing legislators' credentials under fire on the debate floor.

"Who am I to tell them? Who are you? Last I checked, none of our representatives have medical qualifications," she said.

Republican Representative Great Heartsill fired back, saying, "all lives matter, even the ones in the womb."

One vote on the horizon is setting a new precedent from the heartland.

"When does life begin?" asked Republican Representative Terry Baxter of Garner. "If it ends with the last heartbeat, what starts with the first heartbeat?"