Iowa Senate votes to ban most abortions

It was a short but emotional debate in the Iowa Senate Thursday, as they discussed a bill that would ban abortions where a doctor could detect a fetal heartbeat.

Debate on the measure took only about 35 minutes.  There was only one amendment-from bill manager Sen. Amy Sinclair (R-Allerton) which removed the "severability clause". That would mean that if it's challenged in court and a part is found to be unconstitutional, the whole legislation would be ruled unconstitutional.

On a 30  to 19 vote, The Senate approved SF 2281, which would criminalize abortions if they were done when a fetal heartbeat was detected for the doctor, but would hold the mother harmless.  

Democrats decried the bill as creating "forced pregnancies" for women in Iowa.  Senate Democratic Leader Janet Petersen (D-Des Moines) used the bill to attack Republicans for their "actions against women."  She told the Iowa Senate that "your political power does not belong inside an Iowa woman's uterus." 

Senator Joe Bolkcom (D-Iowa City) called the bill "unconstitional, a waste of our time and will cost the state money" in expected court challenges.

However, floor manager Sen. Amy Sinclair appealed to lawmakers "who have a heartbeat" to "reflect for a moment on what it means to be human...a person...with rights" and vote to protect the unborn.

The bill heads to the Iowa House.

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