>> The most restrictive ban on abortion, anywhere in the US, could go into effect in Iowa. Republican state lawmakers, on Wednesday, passed a bill outlawing the procedure as soon as a fetal heartbeat is detected. That can be as early as six weeks, sometimes before a woman realizes she's pregnant.
The bill isn't just aimed at protecting embryos in utero, but challenging a longstanding Supreme Court decision. Abortion opponents hope the bill will end up before the justices, where a conservative 5-4 majority could overturn constitutional protection for abortion established by the 1973 case Roe v Wade. Iowa's bill follows other recent efforts to roll back abortion rights.
In March, Mississippi enacted a new law banning abortion after 15 weeks. In April, Kentucky banned a common abortion procedure after the 11th week of pregnancy. The Iowa bill requires any woman seeking an abortion undergo an abdominal ultrasound to screen for a fetal heartbeat. If one is detected, healthcare providers are barred from performing an abortion.
The bill now goes to the Republican governor, an abortion opponent who has not yet said publicly whether or not she will sign it into law.