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Iowa Poised to Ban Most Abortions Past 20 Weeks

An Iowa bill that would ban most abortions past 20 weeks of pregnancy and require a three-day waiting period for all abortions is awaiting Gov. Terry Branstad’s signature.

After much debate, the Iowa state Senate passed Senate File 471, 30-20, along party lines, on Tuesday.

“At 20 weeks, the baby is fully formed and developed,” state Sen. Mark Costello – the bill’s floor manager – said, according to the Des Moines Register.

The state House passed the measure earlier this month, 55-42.

“Today we make a stand for our unborn girls and boys who will become men and women, state Rep. Shannon Lundgren (R) said, reports the Associated Press. “This is the first of many bills that I hope we pass as legislators to defend our unborn children.”

State Sen. Joe Bolkom (D), however, rejected that argument.

“Extreme abortion bans will do nothing to lower the number of abortions,” he said. “Remember that abortions are a legal procedure in Iowa.”

The legislation does not include exemptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest, or for unborn babies with genetic anomalies. A woman whose life or health is in danger, however, could still have an abortion if her doctor deems it necessary.

While the legislation’s original criminal penalties have been removed through the amendment process, it still allows women to file civil suits against abortionists who perform the procedure illegally. Under the measure, doctors may also be disciplined by the Iowa Board of Medicine for performing illegal abortions.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, 27 states currently require a woman to wait – most of them 24 hours – between abortion counseling and the procedure itself. Iowa would become the sixth state to require a three-day waiting period. Nineteen states have passed similar 20-week bans.

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