Iowa GOP lawmakers drop ‘fetal heartbeat’ abortion bill

Associated Press

Des Moines, Iowa — Iowa Republican lawmakers have dropped plans for what would have been among the nation’s toughest abortion restrictions, retreating only a day after the proposal was announced.

House GOP lawmakers announced Wednesday they removed language from a bill that called for a ban on abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected. Other proposals also were removed, including a 72-hour-waiting period and possible criminal penalties for doctors who perform abortions.

Legislators said there wasn’t enough Republican support to pass the more far-reaching bill.

Democrats and abortion rights opponents had criticized the proposals, calling them an assault on women.

The bill in its latest form will again focus on banning most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, which is based on the disputed notion that a fetus can feel pain at that point.