Iowa House and Senate pass 'heartbeat' bill banning abortions at - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa House and Senate pass 'heartbeat' bill banning abortions at 6 weeks

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Republican-majority Iowa Senate fast-tracked a vote early Wednesday morning on a so-called "heartbeat" bill that seeks to ban most abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected. The GOP-controlled Iowa House approved the bill hours earlier.

The legislation would ban most abortions around six weeks of pregnancy. Critics say that would ban the medical procedure before some women know they're pregnant.

Democrats called the bill "intentionally unconstitutional." Republicans argued a heartbeat is a "recognizable sign of life."

Iowa's legislation would allow abortions after a heartbeat is detected to save a woman's life and in some cases of rape and incest.

Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds hasn't indicated whether she'll sign the bill into law. If enacted, the legislation is expected to be challenged in court over whether it violates U.S. Supreme Court rulings, including the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.

Iowa Republicans passed legislation last year that banned most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

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UPDATE: Overnight, the Iowa Senate has also approved the so-called "heartbeat" bill.

Around 2:30 a.m., the Senate passed the bill with a 29-17 vote.

Now that both chambers have passed the legislation, it now heads to Governor Reynolds' desk for her signature.

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- The Republican-controlled Iowa House has passed a so-called "heartbeat" bill that seeks to ban most abortions around six weeks of pregnancy.

Lawmakers voted 51-46 along party lines late Tuesday night following hours of floor debate. Six Republicans voted against the bill. No Democrats voted for it.

The measure heads to the GOP-led Senate, which passed a similar version earlier this session.

The bill would ban most abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which is usually around six weeks of pregnancy. It could become the most restrictive abortion legislation in the country, though it's expected to be challenged in court. A similar 2013 bill passed in North Dakota was rejected by the federal appeals court whose territory includes Iowa.

Iowa's legislation would allow abortions after a heartbeat is detected to save a woman's life and in some cases of rape and incest.

Democrats called the bill "intentionally unconstitutional." Republicans argued a heartbeat is a "recognizable sign of life."

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