Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds will sign 6-week abortion ban, America’s most restrictive, into law today

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Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds visits with John Ortega following speech at Lincoln Club for Scott County Republicans on January 26, 2017.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds said she will sign a six-week abortion ban into law on Friday, potentially setting Iowa up for a lengthy court challenge. She will sign the “heartbeat bill,” Senate File 359, at 3 p.m. at the State Capitol in Des Moines.

In response, Planned Parenthood of Iowa and the American Civil Liberties Union warned they would sue Reynolds.

The legislation has propelled Iowa to the front of a push among conservative statehouses jockeying to enact the nation’s most restrictive regulations on the procedure. The bill would ban most abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which is around six weeks of pregnancy.

Similar legislation passed in other states didn’t go into effect after they were challenged in court over their constitutionality.

Critics say the so-called “heartbeat” bill would ban abortions before some women even know they’re pregnant. That could set up the state for a legal challenge over its constitutionality, including from the same federal appeals court that three years ago struck down similar legislation approved in Arkansas and North Dakota.

Backers of the legislation, which failed to get a single Democratic vote in either Iowa chamber, expressed hope it could challenge Roe vs. Wade, the landmark 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that established women have a right to terminate pregnancies until a fetus is viable. Conservatives say an influx of right-leaning judicial appointments under President Donald Trump could make it a possibility.

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