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Iowa legislature approves strictest abortion bill in nation

[JURIST] The Iowa legislature [official website] on Wednesday approved a measure [materials] to ban abortions once a heartbeat is detected, or as early as six weeks of gestation.

According to the bill, "'Fetal heartbeat' means cardiac activity, the steady and repetitive rhythmic contraction of the fetal heart within the gestational sac."

Except in the case of a medical emergency, a physician shall not perform an abortion unless the physician has first complied with the prerequisites of chapter 146A and has tested the pregnant woman as specified in this subsection, to determine if a fetal heartbeat is detectable.
The bill is considered to be one of the most restrictive [press release] in the nation because it shortens the time frame of a legal abortion as well as criminalizes the use of fetal tissue for medical procedures. The bill also creates new restrictions on physicians including reporting procedures, storage of information, and civil liability judgements. The bill does not allow for prosecution of those who seek abortions.

The measure passed the senate 29-17. The bill now awaits the governor's signature.

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