Iowa governor says she'll sign 6-week abortion ban into law

Pro-abortion activists demonstrate in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington DC

After receiving the bill Thursday morning, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has announced that she will sign the fetal heartbeat bill at 3 p.m. on Friday.

Like numerous speakers, de Baca had a message for Reynolds and the Republicans who passed SF 359: "We will see you in court". "But I think many of us still never expected that Governor Reynolds would so swiftly jump to sign a bill that is so clearly unconstitutional".

Maggie DeWitte, who leads the group Iowans for Life, called Reynolds' upcoming move "historic". "She is following through on her pledge to the people of Iowa that she is 100 percent pro-life".

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, a Democrat, is already considering whether his office would defend a new state abortion ban in court.

Iowa Republicans admit they hope the U.S. Supreme Court will be forced to take up a bill they passed Wednesday making the state's abortion law the most restrictive in the country.

The legislation has propelled Iowa to the front of a push among conservative statehouses jockeying to enact restrictive regulations on the medical procedure.

The law, which goes into effect July 1 if the courts don't stop it, will require physicians to conduct an abdominal ultrasound to test for a fetal heartbeat on any woman seeking an abortion. It would effectively ban most abortions after about six weeks into a pregnancy, with limited exceptions for incest, rape, and saving the life of the mother.

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But other abortion foes celebrated, hailing the legislation as the first step in potentially dismantling Roe v. Wade - the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that granted women the legal right to an abortion.

President Donald Trump supports an abortion ban and has indicated that this is a priority, and Republicans are seizing the opportunity that creates, say commentators.

Critics have argued it will make having an abortion illegal before most women even realise they are pregnant. That likely sets the state up for a legal challenge, including from the same federal appeals court that three years ago struck down similar legislation approved in Arkansas and North Dakota.

"This law, if signed, I believe could very well be the very bill that overturns Roe v. Wade", Iowa state Sen.

Suzanna de Baca, president of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, told a few hundred people at the "Iowa Fights Back" rally that the fight reproductive rights is "all of our fight ..."

Although Reynolds has not yet said if she will sign the bill, she is known for holding pro-life positions. "She has repeatedly proclaimed herself to be "pro-life", Ms Belin said, and in an election year, "I can't imagine her enraging social conservatives by blocking" the bill.

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