ROCHESTER, Minn. - Iowa lawmakers are continuing to debate the Fetal Heartbeat Bill - a bill that would make it illegal for an Iowa woman to have an abortion after a fetus' heartbeat is detected.
This typically occurs around six weeks. Currently, it is legal to have an abortion in Iowa at up to 20 weeks of pregnancy. Tuesday night, there was a public hearing where both sides presented for or against the bill.
RELATED CONTENT: More on the Iowa abortion debate.
If the bill is made law, women in Iowa seeking abortions would need to find other options, such as traveling to nearby states where abortion is legal past six weeks of pregnancy, like in Minnesota.
Jennifer Aulwes, director of communications at Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota, says that Minnesota clinics accept women from out of state looking for abortion services.
While Minnesota Planned Parenthood will accept Iowa women, Iowans may have to drive farther than they think. Rochester has the closest Minnesota Planned Parenthood Clinic to the Iowa border, but it does not provide abortion services. Planned Parenthood Minnesota only provides abortions out of the Twin Cities metro area, which means more travel time for Iowans.
The Heartbeat Bill does not allow many exceptions. Cases of rape or incest or the age of the mother does not exempt women from the bill. However, situations where the mother's life is in danger may be exempt.
If the bill made it's way to the Supreme Court, it would face the precedent set by Roe vs. Wade in 1973. The case found that women have the constitutional right to an abortion before the age a fetus can survive outside of the womb.
If made law, Iowa would have the strictest abortion laws in the nation.
In Minnesota, abortion is legal up to the age at which a fetus can survive outside of the womb, but mothers must receive mandatory counseling before the procedure, followed by a 24-hour waiting period. If a minor is receiving abortion services, a parent must be notified.
The bill passed in the Iowa Senate. The full House of Representatives will consider the bill next. If it passes, the Senate will review it again.
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