DES MOINES — Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said Tuesday she has received "very positive feedback" to a new state law that prohibits nearly all abortions in Iowa.
But the Republican governor dodged a question whether she would endorse legislation that goes a step farther by declaring that life begins at conception.
Reynolds signed Senate File 359 Friday, which prohibits physicians from performing most abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. Experts say a heartbeat can be heard about six weeks into a pregnancy — often before a woman realizes she’s pregnant.
The controversial legislation means that Iowa will have the toughest abortion law in the country when it takes effect July 1. That's prompted a focus on Iowa by national news organizations and complaints by supporters of legal abortion that the legislation is dangerous to Iowa women's health and is taking away rights to control their own bodies.
Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa have promised to challenge the law in court. However, supporters of the legislation are describing Iowa as "ground-zero" in their battle against abortion. They see the legislation as a possible test case to overturn Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that overturned state bans on abortion nationwide.
Asked by a reporter Tuesday if she has any concerns about negative economic repercussions on Iowa, Reynolds defended her stance. as a result of the new law.
"I think that I have made it very clear that I am pro-life and as a governor I would do everything that I could to protect the life of the unborn. And I know that there are very strong feelings on both sides of the issue," Reynolds said at an unrelated a press conference at Camp Dodge in Johnston. She also noted that the legislation would prohibit the sale of fetal body parts in Iowa.
When pressed about what kind of feedback she has received since signing the bill, Reynolds responded, “I have had very positive feedback. But as you know, there is feedback on both sides. There are very, very strong and passionate feelings on both sides of this issue. I believe ... we need to do everything that we can to protect life and that is what I did when I signed the bill."
Iowa legislators who sponsored the fetal heartbeat bill have said the newly signed law is not the end. These legislators' ultimate goal is to declare that life begins at conception, which would ban all abortions in Iowa. Asked if she would endorse such legislation, Reynolds responded: "I signed a bill to protect life and that is the bill I signed. Thank you very much."
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