Restrictive abortion laws do not lower abortion rates; they limit access to safe abortions.
The heartbeat bill is an irresponsible piece of legislation harmful to the women of Iowa. Senate File 359, known as the “heartbeat bill,” was signed into law May 4. This law bans abortions when a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which can occur before a woman knows she is pregnant.
The number of abortions in Iowa dropped 23 percent from 2011 to 2014. Restrictive abortion laws, like the heartbeat bill, do not influence abortion rates and are detrimental to women’s health. Abortion can be a safe procedure. Access to birth control lowers abortion rates. This type of restrictive law often results in shutdown of abortion clinics with safety and financial costs for women seeking abortion.
Unfortunately, we can see how laws like this one have been harmful to women in other states, and we can expect it to be bad for women in Iowa — all women, not just those who seek an abortion.
The University of Iowa’s OB/GYN program is the only accredited program in Iowa and stands to lose accreditation if this law is upheld. In a state with the second lowest number of OB/GYNs per 10,000 residents, the ripple effect would be damaging for all women of Iowa. Unwanted pregnancies can have serious consequences, especially with fewer OB/GYNs to ease difficulties.
I understand the desire to protect unborn children, but I question the effectiveness of this law.