Nov 17, 2023 - News

Both sides call for clarity to Iowa's proposed abortion rules

Illustration of a gavel hovering over a block with an image of a red cross.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

As we reported Wednesday, the Iowa Board of Medicine is expected to vote Friday morning on rules to the state's "fetal heartbeat" law.

Catch up fast: The law would ban nearly all abortion procedures after a heartbeat is detected, around the sixth week of pregnancy.

  • The legislation is currently blocked while legal challenges continue.
  • The rules establish how the law is implemented or interpreted should it take effect.

What they're saying: Sen. Janet Petersen (D-Des Moines) tells Axios that the proposed rules do not clarify many concerns that medical professionals expressed during public hearings this year. .

Plus, nothing in the rules addresses how exceptions could be made to save the life of a pregnant person, Drake University law professor Sally Frank tells Axios.

  • And an exception to the law for cases when fetal abnormalities are incompatible with life remain unclear.
  • "If you gave birth and (the baby) lived for five seconds and then died, does that mean it's incompatible with life or not?" Frank asked.

Meanwhile, Iowa Right to Life also supports additional clarification in the rules to better validate a rape or incest situation, director Kristi Judkins tells Axios.

If you go: Today's meeting is open to the public starting at 10am, 6200 Park Ave. Or attend virtually.


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