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Iowa Senate passes "heartbeat bill" to limit abortion

Could ban abortions as early as six weeks.

Posted: Feb. 28, 2018 8:02 PM
Updated: Mar. 1, 2018 11:37 AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Lawmakers in the Iowa Senate have approved a bill that would ban most abortions at the first detectable fetal heartbeat.

The Republican-controlled chamber voted 30-20 Wednesday along party lines in support of the so-called heartbeat bill. The chamber's lone independent lawmaker also voted for the legislation.

A heartbeat can be detected as early as 6 weeks of pregnancy. The legislation would only allow abortions at a later period to save a pregnant woman's life.

Leaders in the GOP-majority House haven't said publicly if they will support the bill. GOP Gov. Kim Reynolds also hasn't given a definitive answer on the legislation.

If the measure becomes law, it likely faces litigation by opponents who argue it violates U.S. Supreme Court rulings that affirm women have a legal right to abortion.

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