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Iowa approves 'most restrictive abortion bill in US'

May 2, 2018 4:13 pm

The US state of Iowa has approved an abortion law banning most abortions once a foetal heartbeat is detected.

Republican lawmakers passed the bill in back-to-back votes, sending it to the governor’s desk to sign into law.

If it comes into effect the bill will ban most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, and rights groups say it will be the country’s most restrictive.

Critics argue it will make having an abortion illegal before most women even realise they are pregnant.

Iowa’s Republican Governor Kim Reynolds has not said if she will sign the bill.

Last year, Iowa Republicans successfully banned abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

The past and future of US abortion debate

What new restrictions have been approved?

The so-called “heartbeat” bill would require any woman seeking an abortion to have an ultrasound to screen for a foetal heartbeat. If one is detected, she will be barred from obtaining a termination.

Some exceptions have been introduced – in cases of rape and incest, where it has been reported to authorities, and to save the woman’s life.

“We’re in the majority for a reason and that includes advancing the pro-life cause,” Republican Representative Shannon Lundgren told the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier.