Poll: Half of Iowans think state’s ‘fetal heartbeat’ abortion ban goes too far

Poll: Half of Iowans think state’s ‘fetal heartbeat’ abortion ban goes too far
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More than half of the adults in Iowa believe the state’s new six-week "fetal heartbeat" abortion bill — the nation’s strictest ban — goes too far.

A new poll released from the Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa on Monday showed that 52 percent of Iowans polled said the law goes too far, compared to 39 percent who said it didn’t go too far.

Ten percent of respondents were unsure.

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Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) signed the six-week abortion bill into law in May.

"We are No. 1 in the country when it comes to protecting life,” Reynolds said at the time. "I believe all innocent life is precious and sacred, and as governor I pledge to you to do everything in my power to protect life."

Also known as a “heartbeat bill,” the measure requires women seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound before the procedure to determine whether the fetus has a heartbeat. If a heartbeat is found, a physician cannot perform an abortion.

Critics of the law say that many women do not even know they are pregnant at six weeks of pregnancy.

The law was temporarily blocked by a judge in June after Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union’s Iowa branch filed a lawsuit against the state. 

It was slated to take effect on July 1 but the judge froze the law until the lawsuit is resolved in court.

The Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa poll also found that support for legal abortion in Iowa has grown over the past decade.

A 2008 poll found that just 48 percent of Iowans believed that abortion should be legal in most or all cases.

That figure has risen to a majority — 54 percent — as of Monday’s latest poll.

Thirty-nine percent of 2018 respondents believe that abortion should be illegal in most or all cases, compared to 46 percent in the decade-old poll.

The poll was conducted by Selzer and Co. between Sept. 17 and 20 and sampled 801 Iowa adults. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.