Iowa lawmakers approve restrictive abortion plan

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DES MOINES, Iowa Iowa lawmakers have set the stage for adopting the most restrictive abortion legislation in the country.

The Republican-majority Iowa Senate fast-tracked a vote early Wednesday morning on a so-called "heartbeat" bill that seeks to ban most abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected. The GOP-controlled Iowa House approved the bill hours earlier.

The legislation effectively would ban most abortions around six weeks of pregnancy. Critics say that would ban the medical procedure before some women know they're pregnant.

Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds hasn't indicated whether she'll sign the bill into law. If enacted, the legislation is expected to be challenged in court over whether it violates U.S. Supreme Court rulings, including the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.

Iowa Republicans passed legislation last year that banned most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Iowa Democratic Chair Troy Price issued the following Party statement Wednesday in response to the passage of the bill.

“Last night, we saw Republican leadership at its worst. Rather than tackling the toughest issues facing our state, the GOP decided to pass a knowingly-unconstitutional bill in the dead of night that will do nothing but put the health care of Iowa women at risk.

"This bill is about serving the extreme, conservative interests that fill their campaign accounts, not about protecting Iowa children or Iowa women. It’s about a fundamental disrespect for our Constitution and women and doctors in our country. With this vote, Republicans have made our state more extreme than Mississippi or Kentucky.

“The heartbreaking, human consequences of this ridiculous partisan game will stain the legacy of the Republicans' short-lived leadership of the legislature.

“Iowans want leaders who will fight for them, not extreme special interests.

“Democrats will never back down from fighting for greater economic security, better jobs, better education, and better health care – especially reproductive health for women - and that is why Iowans will trust us with their votes in November.”