Fetal Heartbeat Abortion Ban

Since 2011, right-wing state-level legislators around the country – from Alabama to Wyoming, Arkansas to Texas - have proposed a variety of fetal heartbeat bills designed to chip away at a woman’s ability to make her own reproductive health care decisions. Most of those bills were never codified.

But on May 2, 2018, Iowa’s Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds signed one such fetal heartbeat bill into law. In a hopeful sign for women’s reproductive rights, on June 1, a judge issued a temporary injunction barring the law from going into effect July 1st as planned. However, if allowed to stand, Iowa’s ban will be the most restrictive abortion law in the country, outlawing the procedure once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as six weeks - before a woman even knows she’s pregnant.

And, if Florida, Republican Gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam is victorious on Election Day, the Sunshine State could soon follow suit. Putnam has already promised to sign into law a fetal heartbeat bill if he’s elected.


The Iowa lawmakers who pushed the bill said they want  the law to face a legal challenge that will advance it to the U.S. Supreme Court, where they hope it will ultimately overturn Roe V. Wade. Make no mistake about it. That is their goal.

In the meantime, other states are on the slippery slope toward a similar ban. Two state legislatures - Michigan and Tennessee – already are considering requiring fetal heartbeat testing before abortions can be performed.

And seven state legislatures—Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee—are considering bills that would require ultrasounds before abortions.