On Friday, Gov. Kim Reynolds signed Senate File 359, also known as “the heartbeat bill,” into law.
The bill passed the Iowa House on Tuesday night and the Iowa Senate early Wednesday morning, and will make abortions illegal if there is a detectable fetal heartbeat, except in cases where an abortion is necessary to save the mother’s life or in some cases of rape or incest. The bill also makes selling “a fetal body part” a class C felony.
Exceptions for rape are given if the incident is reported to law enforcement or a health agency within 45 days and for incest if reported within 140 days.
The law makes it illegal to “knowingly acquire, provide, receive, otherwise transfer, or use a fetal body part in this state, regardless of whether the acquisition, provision, receipt, transfer, or use is for valuable consideration.” The law makes exceptions for any body parts that are donated following a miscarriage or a stillbirth.
After signing the bill, Gov. Reynolds released a statement expressing why the bill is important to her, despite the legal challenges it presents.
“I believe that all innocent life is precious and sacred, and as governor, I pledged to do everything in my power to protect it,” Reynolds said. “That is what I am doing today.”
Shortly after the governor announced that she would sign the bill into law, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland announced their intent to challenge the bill.
“Gov. Reynolds, if you sign this bill, Planned Parenthood will see you in court,” said President and CEO Suzanna de Baca. “We will challenge this law with absolutely everything we have on behalf of our patients because Iowa will not go back.”
Once the bill was signed, the ACLU of Iowa joined Planned Parenthood of the Heartland in voicing opposition.
“This is a bad way to make legislation. This is a bad way to treat the women of our state. This is bad for Iowa,” said Mark Stringer, executive director of the Iowa ACLU.
Iowa Republicans saw the challenge as a chance to overturn Roe v. Wade. Rep. Shannon Lundgren, R-Dubuque, the bill’s floor manager in the Iowa House acknowledged this possibility.
“It is time for the Supreme Court to weigh in on the issue of life. It has taken decades for the science to catch up to what many have believed all along: that she’s a baby,” Lundgren said.
Pending the joint lawsuit from the ACLU, the law is set to go into effect July 1.