Iowa has introduced the toughest abortion laws in the US, banning most abortions once the heartbeat of the unborn child has been detected.
The first heartbeat usually occurs at around six weeks of the pregnancy.
This so-called ‘heartbeat bill’ allows exceptions for cases of rape and incest, and if the life of the mother is at risk.
Under this bill, women wanting an abortion would have to undergo an abdominal ultrasound. If a heartbeat was detected, healthcare professionals would be barred from performing an abortion.
In March, Mississippi became the first US state to ban abortion after 15 weeks, though this law is currently on hold due to a legal challenge.
Some have criticised Iowa’s bill, pointing out that at six weeks, some women would not even know they were pregnant. Others, such as Senator Rick Bertrand, have said the bill is a great step forward for ‘the life movement’, and so for the rights of the unborn child.