Reynolds Signs Iowa Abortion Ban Bill At Evangelical Summit

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signs a new law banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy before speaking at the Family Leadership Summit, Friday, July 14, 2023, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Gov. Kim Reynolds signed Iowa’s new six-week abortion ban into law in front of about 2,000 evangelical Christians at the Family Leader Summit in Des Moines on Friday.

“The passage of this legislation by even a wider margin this time sends an unmistakable message,” Reynolds said. “Iowa’s 2018 heartbeat law was not hypothetical. It was not an empty gesture and it was not a mistake.”

Reynolds thanked and praised the legislators who passed the ban during a marathon special session on Tuesday and invited them to join her onstage as she signed the bill.

While Reynolds did the signing, the Polk County District Court was hearing arguments about a petition from the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa and abortion providers to enjoin the bill from taking effect.

No decision was released Friday, but a ruling is expected Monday.

“As a pro-life governor, I will continue to promote policies designed to surround every person involved in a pregnancy with protection, love, and support,” Reynolds said.

“The compassionate foster care and adoption solutions that have long been championed by the Family leader will now be more important than ever,” she continued. “We also need to keep promoting healthy pregnancies, childbirth, and families through our Iowa MOMs program.”

This year, the Iowa Legislature cut Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, raised work requirements for those benefits, and introduced asset testing.

The law bans abortion after electric impulses are detected in the embryo, which can happen as early as six weeks. Because of that, Republicans call it a “fetal heartbeat” bill, despite there not being a physical heart.

The law technically has exceptions for rape and incest but both have reporting requirements (within 45 days and 140 days respectively). It also has exceptions for fetal abnormalities that are “incompatible with life,” and for medical emergencies in which the woman faces death or serious danger to her physical health. Emotional and psychological issues don’t count as medical emergencies. Neither does age or family situation.

Reynolds also said she was doing the will of the people, but polls show 61% of Iowans think abortion should be legal in all or most cases. Hundreds gathered in the Capitol Rotunda on Tuesday to protest the bill and plead with legislators not to advance it.

House Minority Leader Jennifer Konfrst (D-Windsor Heights) said in a statement after the signing, “Governor Reynolds proved today that her bill to ban abortion was always about the special interests, not Iowans. It’s deadly for Iowa women and takes away the reproductive freedom that every Iowan deserves.”

“Iowans have been consistentand demonstrated earlier this weekthat they support reproductive freedom and want to keep their fundamental right to make health care decisions about their own bodies,” Konfrst continued. “Politicians and judges have no place interfering in someone else’s decisions about when to start a family. I remain hopeful that this ban will be put on hold again by the courts next week. I will put people over politics and keep fighting every single day for reproductive freedom in Iowa.”

Reynolds’ final comments before moving to sign said the bill emphasized her enthusiasm.

“Today, the most glaring injustice of all is about to be put right,” Reynolds said. “I have never been prouder to once again sign a bill into law.”


Nikoel Hytrek

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2 Comments on "Reynolds Signs Iowa Abortion Ban Bill At Evangelical Summit"

  • At long last a news report uses the term “electrical impulses” rather than the anti-abortion propaganda term invented by Republicans. Why did it take so long?

  • And thanks to very special and highly-dubious permission from the Polk County Supervisors, a garish new Family Leader headquarters will soon be rising in rural Polk County. All hail Bob Vander Plaats, King of Rural Sprawl as well as Family Leader.

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