The Iowa Senate on Tuesday evening approved the House amended version of SF 471 passing the bill on a party-line 30 to 20 vote sending the bill to Iowa Governor Terry Branstad’s desk. The bill initially passed the Senate on March 14th on a 32 to 17 bipartisan vote that included the entire Republican caucus, an independent, and three Democrats. The Iowa House amended and passed the bill 55 to 42 on April 4th.

Iowa law currently only allows abortions during the third trimester if a woman’s life or health is endangered. Senate File 471 changes the law to include:

  • “Any person who intentionally terminates a human pregnancy, with the knowledge and voluntary consent of the pregnant person, after the pregnancy reaches twenty weeks postfertilization or the fetus achieves viability, whichever occurs earlier, where death of the fetus results.”
  • “Any person who attempts to intentionally terminate a human pregnancy, with the knowledge and voluntary consent of the pregnant person, after the where death of the fetus does not result, commits attempted feticide.”
  • The ban’s only exception is when there is a medical emergency which was defined this way, “a situation in which an abortion is performed to preserve the life of the pregnant woman whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy, or when continuation of the pregnancy will create a serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.”
  • If a pregnancy is terminated, it is to be done in a way that “provides the best opportunity for an unborn child to survive” unless that puts the mother at greater risk of losing her life or the irreversible impairment of a majorly bodily function.
  • The bill also establishes a three-day waiting period and strengthens the requirement for doctors to offer a mother the opportunity to see an ultrasound and hear the heartbeat of her unborn child.

Branstad is expected to sign the bill into law.

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