Iowa ‘heartbeat’ abortion ban, strictest in US, becomes law

Chicago (AFP) – The governor of the US state of Iowa signed into law Friday a ban on abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. 

The bill, approved by the Midwestern state’s Republican-controlled legislature just two days earlier, was expected to trigger a legal battle, which conservatives hope will land the flashpoint social issue back at the US Supreme Court.

“I understand and anticipate that this will likely be challenged in court,” Governor Kim Reynolds said in a statement after the signing. 

“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,” she said. 

Considered the most restrictive in the country, critics say the law would deny abortions to many women before they even know they are pregnant — with an exception for victims of rape or incest.