Iowa Senate passes bill banning abortion once heartbeat is detected


The Iowa Senate voted Wednesday in favor of legislation to ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected.

Senate File 2281 passed the chamber on a 30-20 vote, and now heads to the Iowa House where Republicans hold a 59-41 majority. If passed, Iowa would be the first state to implement heartbeat legislation, effectively banning most abortions.

Sen. Amy Sinclair, floor manager of the bill, said the measure is at “the very heart and soul” of what it means to be human:

“This bill is the logical beginning point for all of civil governance,” Sinclair said. It strikes “at the very heart and soul of what it means to be an American, what it means to be a person.”

Science reveals that the fetal heartbeat begins just 22 days from fertilization. The Endowment for Human Development reports that by four weeks and four days, “the human embryo’s heart typically beats about 113 times per minute.”

In testing for a heartbeat, Senate File 2281 requires an abortionist to use ultrasound and other standard medical devices, and to inform the woman in writing whether a heartbeat was detected. Abortionists who commit an abortion, under the bill, would be charged with a Class D felony, and would face up to five years in prison and a fine.

Bob Vander Plaats, president and chief executive officer of The Family Leader, told the Quad-City Times that the bill is in line with what science already affirms about human life in the womb.

“Iowa would be the first state to recognize what science already affirms: a baby in the womb has her own unique DNA, her own unique heartbeat, is her own unique person,” Plaats said. “She’s a baby and she deserves to have her birthday.”

Similar measures have been introduced nationwide, and last year, Rep. Steve King announced H.R. 490, the federal Heartbeat Protection Act.

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