While New York Allows Near-Unlimited Abortion, Iowa Signed The “Heartbeat Bill” With Strong Protections For Unborn Babies

Bravo to the Heartland!


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Well done, Kim Reynolds and Iowa!

Along with many of you, I am still extremely upset by what’s happened in New York this week, with the new law allowing near-unlimited abortion up to delivery.  

To give you an idea of just how far New York has fallen in just 60+ years, I thought this summed it up perfectly:

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So while New York worships at the alter of Moloch, I had to share some good news you may not have heard.

A few months ago in Iowa, Gov. Kim Reynolds signed into law what became known as the "Heartbeat Bill" giving real protections to the unborn.

Here are more details on that new law, from NPR:

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed one of the country's most restrictive abortion bills into law on Friday.

The so-called "heartbeat" legislation bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat has been detected, at about six weeks of pregnancy. Exceptions are made in cases of rape, incest or medical emergency. 

Republican state lawmakers worked late into the night this week to push the measureforward. During Tuesday's debate in the Statehouse, Rep. Sandy Salmon said, "A baby has become something we can throw away. This bill says it's time to change the way we think about unborn life." 

The bill passed the state House on Tuesday and the state Senate early Wednesday. Then it landed on Reynolds' desk.

"I understand that not everyone will agree with this decision," Reynolds said in a written statement. "But if death is determined when a heart stops beating, then doesn't a beating heart indicate life? For me, it is immoral to stop an innocent beating heart." 

The legislation drew firm Republican support. Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst tweeted, "Glad to see Iowa leading the way and standing up for the most vulnerable in our society, the unborn. Thank you @IAGovernor for taking this important step forward in protecting life."

No Democrats voted for the bill. "This unconstitutional bill is nothing but a thinly veiled attack on Iowa women's most basic rights and freedoms — every woman deserves the fundamental right to make decisions about her own body with her doctor," Democratic National Committee women's media director Elizabeth Renda said in a written statement.

Iowa has permitted most abortions up to 20 weeks. Critics of the new law say the six-week deadline will prohibit abortions before women may even realize they are pregnant. 

"The likelihood that an individual can miss her period, get a pregnancy test, then make an appointment to see an abortion provider, take time off of work if she's working, find child care for her other children, get in to get her abortion and have all of that done prior to a six-week time period is absolutely unrealistic and unreasonable," said Dr. Jamila Perritt, a fellow with Physicians for Reproductive Health, which advocates for contraception and abortion rights.

Perritt said the law is simply designed to limit access to abortion. "The reality is that it's justice by geography. Abortion is legal in this country." 

At a rally on Friday at the Iowa State Capitol, Suzanna de Baca, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, said the organization would file a lawsuit against the governor if she signed the bill. The organization tweeted, "We will fight like hell with everything we have."

The American Civil Liberties Union also announced plans to sue with the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

Reynolds knew that her signature would be incendiary. "I understand and anticipate that this will likely be challenged in court and that courts may even put a hold on the law until it reaches the Supreme Court," she said in the statement. "However, this is bigger than just a law. This is about life. I am not going to back down from who I am or what I believe in."

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As expected, the law was immediately challenged in court, and sad to report a District Court judge declared the law unconstitutional just recently.

But many expect this will set it up for a Supreme Court ruling, which could finally shift things to the conservatives in favor of life!

As reported by CNN:

An Iowa state judge on Tuesday struck down the state's so-called "fetal heartbeat" law, declaring one of the nation's most restrictive abortion bans unconstitutional.

The law, signed in May, would ban doctors from performing most abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected. That can happen as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, before many women even know they are pregnant.

Polk County District Judge Michael Huppert wrote in his decision striking down the law that its defenders didn't identify a compelling state interest in barring most abortions after a fetus' heartbeat can be found, The Des Moines Register reported.

The bill, signed by Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds, was challenged by Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and the Emma Goldman Clinic, a move that halted it from taking effect last summer.

Some legislators who support the law said in May they hoped it would lead to a legal battle that reaches the Supreme Court. Emboldened by the court's new conservative majority, they said they think it will help overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that affirmed the right to an abortion in all 50 states.

"This bill will be the vehicle that will ultimately provide change and provide the opportunity to overturn Roe v. Wade," state Sen. Rick Bertrand, a Republican, said during the floor debate last year. "There's nothing hidden here about the agenda."

Abortion-rights advocates this week praised the judge's decision to strike down the law, which came 46 years to the day after the Roe v. Wade decision.

"Today's ruling is a victory for every Iowan who has ever needed or will need a safe, legal abortion," Planned Parenthood of the Heartland's medical director, Dr. Jill Meadows, said in a statement.

"We are pleased that especially today, on the 46th anniversary of the landmark decision Roe v. Wade, abortion care was upheld as a safe and legal part of basic reproductive health care."

"Today's victory is essential to the rights and safety of women in Iowa," said Rita Bettis Austen, legal director for the ACLU of Iowa. "It follows in the footsteps of the Iowa Supreme Court decision on abortion in 2018 that recognized the fundamental right to a safe and legal abortion for Iowa women, which cannot be legislated away. Today's decision upholds women's freedom and equality in Iowa."

Reynolds said she was disappointed by the decision.

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And it's not just Iowa.  

Tennessee's governor is reported to be considering a similar law.

As reported by US News:

Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Lee and the top two GOP state lawmakers say they support a push to ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, as early as six weeks into a woman's pregnancy.

Tennessee is among several states considering heartbeat bills amid hopes from some abortion opponents nationwide that a conservative U.S. Supreme Court majority will review the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling and uphold stricter abortion prohibitions.

And with backing from the three top officials, Tennessee's push is likely to gain traction in the ongoing state legislative session.

The fetal heartbeat bill is at odds with the legal standard set by the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade ruling, which prohibits states from banning abortions before viability. Additionally, Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery in 2017 deemed a heartbeat bill "constitutionally suspect."

Generally speaking, the new governor told reporters Wednesday he will look at individual bills and decide if he favors them, and "the courts will have to decide for themselves whether it's constitutional or not."

"I would support any bill that reduces the number of abortions in the state," said Lee, who campaigned heavily on his Christian faith.

Lee echoed support from House Speaker Glen Casada and Senate Speaker Randy McNally, who told The Associated Press a day earlier that they would favor the restriction.

"I think it's a fight worth having in front of the Supreme Court. I really do," said Casada.

In Ohio, Republican ex-Gov. John Kasich twice vetoed similar legislation. But that state's new Republican Gov. Mike DeWine has pledged to sign it. Other states are expected to consider heartbeat bills.

Last week, a state judge struck down Iowa's heartbeat law. Lee said he would look at that case. Federal circuit courts have struck down similar laws in Arkansas and North Dakota.

"Rather than focusing on unconstitutional legislation that would restrict access to safe and legal abortions, Tennessee's legislators should focus on increasing health care access and laws that support comprehensive sexuality education," said Ashley Coffield, Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi president and CEO.

Last year, a federal appellate court dismissed a lawsuit questioning the vote count for a state constitutional amendment against abortion passed by voters in 2014. The amendment says nothing in the state constitution "secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion." The amendment also empowers state lawmakers to "enact, amend, or repeal statutes regarding abortion."

Since the 2014 change, the Legislature has passed several abortion restrictions.

Last year, lawmakers voted to seek federal approval to ban TennCare payments for non-abortion services to any provider of more than 50 abortions in the prior year.

In 2015, lawmakers passed a restriction requiring abortion clinics to meet hospital-level surgical standards. That law was permanently halted in the spring of 2017 because of a federal lawsuit.

In the same lawsuit, the state is still defending a 2015 restriction that requires counseling and a 48-hour waiting period for women seeking abortions.

And in 2017, Tennessee banned abortions after 20 weeks on fetuses that are determined to be viable.

Last year, Republican Rep. Micah Van Huss watered down his fetal heartbeat bill to pass a new law requiring if an ultrasound is performed before an abortion, the woman must be given the opportunity to learn the results. Van Huss is carrying the heartbeat bill again this session, which is expected to last several months.

McNally, the Senate speaker, predicted that by the time Tennessee's heartbeat bill would be passed and challenged, there probably would be some decision on other states' cases.

"I think (Tennessee) will probably be a leader in protecting the life of the unborn," McNally said. "I think we'll also, at the same time, not try to do everything at once, but sort of move ahead with some caution."

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