CHARLES CITY, Iowa - Nearly a year after a wide-sweeping law regarding the time frame abortions can be legally performed, it may soon become even harder.
On Thursday, a Republican-led legislative panel approved Senate Study Bill 3143, a bill that would ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which occurs as early as six of pregnancy. The bill also would require physicians to perform an ultrasound, inform the pregnant woman whether a heartbeat was detected, and then requires her to sign a form acknowledging the receipt of the information, with a copy of the form to be included in the woman's medical record.
If an abortion is performed after a detectable heartbeat, doctors would be charged with a Class D felony, with five years in prison and a minimum $750 fine as punishment. However, the woman would not face legal repercussions. The only exception to this rule is if there is a medical emergency.
Carrie Jones says while she agrees that abortions should be made illegal after a certain time, she doesn't necessarily agree with the punishment.
"I don't know that potential fines or jail time would be the best deterrent for the doctor and/or the woman involved," Jones says.
However, John Burbridge is in favor of a woman having the right to choose, but does agree on a time frame; however, he feels the time frame in the bill would be too short.
"I think when they move it back to 3-6 weeks is a bit draconian," Burbridge says.
If the measure becomes law, it likely would be appealed by opponents and pro-choice advocates, who would argue it violates prior U.S. Supreme Court rulings surrounding abortion and the right to choose.
Another similar bill, House File 2163, would provide definitions, outlines the manner in which to test for a heartbeat, requires written information to be provided to a woman following testing, and also requires the woman to a sign a form acknowledging the receipt of the information, with a copy of the form to be included in the woman's medical record.