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Iowa Fetal Heartbeat Abortion Ban (SSB 3143)

This law was last updated on Feb 18, 2018

This law is Anti–Choice




SSB 3143




Feb 5, 2018


Forced Ultrasound, Heartbeat Bans

Full Bill Text

SSB 3143 would prohibit the performance of an abortion from the time a fetus has a detectable heartbeat.

A fetal heartbeat can be detected as early as six weeks of pregnancy—two weeks after a woman’s first missed period—and well before many women even realize that they are pregnant.

Except in the case of a medical emergency, the bill would prohibit abortions without a check for a fetal heartbeat, or if a fetal heartbeat is detectable.

In testing for a detectable heartbeat, the physician would be required to perform an abdominal ultrasound.

Following the testing of the pregnant person for a detectable fetal heartbeat, the physician would need to inform the pregnant person, in writing, of all of the following:

  • Whether a fetal heartbeat was detected.
  • That if a fetal heartbeat was detected, an abortion is prohibited.

The bill would prohibit a physician from performing or attempting to perform an abortion when it has been determined that the fetus has a detectable heartbeat, unless a medical emergency exists.

A physician who knowingly and intentionally performs an abortion on a pregnant person, when it has been determined that the fetus has a detectable heartbeat and a medical emergency does not exist, would be guilty of a class “D” felony. A class “D” felony is punishable by confinement for no more than five years and a fine of at least $750 but not more than $7,500.

“Medical Emergency”

The bill would amend law regarding the prerequisites for an abortion to provide that such prerequisites do not apply in the case of a medical emergency, and would eliminate the exception for an abortion performed to save the life of a pregnant person.

The bill would amend the definition of “medical emergency” to mean:

“[…]a situation in which an abortion is performed to preserve the life of the pregnant woman whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy, but not including psychological conditions, emotional conditions, familial conditions, or the woman’s age.”

Related Legislation

Replaced by SF 2281.

Similar to HF 2163.


Introduced by the Senate Judiciary Committee.