May 4 (UPI) — Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the country’s most restrictive abortion law Friday, banning the procedure after six weeks.
The Iowa House narrowly approved the controversial bill 51-46 earlier in the week and the Senate passed it by a vote of 29-17.
Known as the “heartbeat” bill, it requires physicians to conduct an abdominal ultrasound to test for a fetal heartbeat on women seeking an abortion. If one is detected, the abortion could not be performed.
“I believe that all innocent life is precious and sacred,” Reynolds said as she signed the bill. “And as governor, I have pledged to do everything in my power to protect it. And that’s what I’m doing today.”
Certain changes, including exceptions to the ban for some victims of rape or incest, brought some lawmakers on board.
Critics argue the measure would only allow abortions during a time when many women don’t even realize they are pregnant.
The American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood vowed to sue to block the law from taking effect.
“Iowans can rest assured: [ACLU Iowa] won’t let politicians get away with trying to block access to abortion,” the ACLU said.
Abortion rights activists rallied Friday on the grounds of the statehouse to speak against the new law and Reynolds.
“I am here to tell Governor Reynolds: ‘We will see you in court,’” said Suzanna de Baca, president of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland.
Republican lawmakers said they hope the matter goes to the Supreme Court in an effort to overturn Roe vs. Wade.