Six weeks is less time than it often takes for many women to even realize they are pregnant. (For comparison, a season of Westworld takes longer than six weeks to air.) But Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed a bill into law on Friday afternoon that would ban abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. It’s the most regressive restriction in the country.
Dubbed the so-called “heartbeat” bill—which, as many have pointed out, is a loaded term—the ban passed the state legislature on Wednesday and was sent the Republican governor’s desk. Earlier on Friday, Reynolds declined to say if she would sign the bill, but later confirmed that she would do so.
According to the Washington Post, the bill “[requires] women seeking an abortion to first have an ultrasound, at which time a physician would detect whether there is a heartbeat. The bill also [prohibits] someone from acquiring, providing, receiving, transferring or using a fetal body part in Iowa. A violator could be charged with a Class C felony.”
North Dakota passed a similar six-week ban in 2013, but it was blocked by a federal judge and struck down in 2015. Iowa’s law is certain to prompt similar legal battles. In a statement, Suzanna de Baca, the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, affirmed that a lawsuit was coming, saying,“I am here to tell her, Gov. Reynolds, if you sign this bill, Planned Parenthood will see you in court.”
Laws like these are largely seen as part of a bigger strategy for conservatives to set up legal challenges in the hopes of overturning Roe v. Wade. And with Donald Trump in office, that potential is looking scarier than ever.