March 11, 2024

Is the Third Time the Charm for Heartbeat Protections in Iowa?


If the Iowa Supreme Court had a loyalty rewards program or a reward for repeat visits, the pro-life movement could probably collect. According to reporting from the Des Moines Register (linked to in 

“For the third time in three years, the Iowa Supreme Court is preparing to decide whether and how the Iowa Constitution protects the right to get an abortion. 

The court ruled in 2022 that there is not a “fundamental right” to abortion. The decision overturned its own 2018 precedent. But in 2023, the court deadlocked 3-3 on whether to revive the state’s so-called six-week “fetal heartbeat” abortion ban, passed by the Legislature in 2018 but blocked by a Polk County judge from taking effect. The tie vote left the law permanently enjoined. 

In response, Gov. Kim Reynolds called the Iowa Legislature into a special session to swiftly pass a new ban on abortions after about the sixth week of pregnancy. Once again, a judge in Polk County blocked the ban, granting abortion provider Planned Parenthood a temporary injunction. 

Now the Supreme Court is preparing to hear the state’s appeal of that ruling. The case is not yet scheduled for oral arguments, but all the parties have submitted their final written briefs.” 

For those who have been following the Students for Life Action (SFLAction) blog for some time now Students for Life Action has long been involved in advocating for stronger laws in Iowa, specifically legislation filed by Rep. Jeff Shipley and Rep. Luana Stoltenburg to End Chemical Abortions (HF 146) and to End Intentional Abortion (HF 510) that would close down abortion clinics and make abortion unavailable in Iowa. Click here to take action on these bills. 

Legislators opted to protect preborn life by passing a Heartbeat Abortion Prevention law, which enshrined fetal heartbeat protections into law, effectively restricting abortion after six weeks.  


READ: As Iowa Governor Prepares to Sign Heartbeat Abortion Prevention Act Again, SFLAction Questions Which 2024 Candidates Stand Behind the Universal Sign of Life 


While she’s blocked other pro-life bills from advancing, Governor Kim Reynolds has fought hard to protect preborn life by showing what good lawfare looks like by meeting the challenges to the law and defending it in court. Just like Governor Reynolds ally Governor Ron DeSantis’ showed us in Florida, heartbeat protection laws are a far more effective way to protect life than 15-week laws, which allow more than 9 in 10 abortions to continue.  


READ: VICTORY: Students for Life Action Commends Final Passage of Florida Heartbeat Abortion Prevention Act, Encourages Governor DeSantis to Quickly Sign Bill to Prove Establishment Got It Wrong on Abortion 


What’s more, is that there’s broad support across America for heartbeat laws. According to polling by the Kaiser Family Foundation (2020), half of Americans believe abortion should be illegal once a heartbeat can be detected.  

According to own polling through Students for Life of America (SFLA) & the Demetree Institute for Pro-Life Advancement (IPA), when asked which most closely resembled their view on abortion limits, heartbeat or better protections were the most support position with 37%.   

In addition, recent Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America polling reported at Axiosnotes thatby “double-digit margins” voters prefer candidates who support “a heartbeat limit, a pain-capable limit, or a similarly protective gestational limit” as compared to “the position of abortion on demand until birth.”  


READ: New Students for Life of America/SFLAction You Gov Poll Shows the YOUTH VOTE Open to Pro-Life Perspectives; Supports Services for Mothers; & Rejects the Biden Administrations’ Radical Agenda  


We can only hope that the Supreme Court of Iowa continues to do what it has done recently – stand on the side of defending preborn lives. Maybe the third case will be the one that solidifies it for the foreseeable future.