When Iowa lawmakers snuck their 20-week abortion ban through the House by redefining feticide rather than actually passing a bill, they claimed that they were simply “protecting viable babies.”
But they aren’t. The ban that they crafted actually set the cut off date at 20 weeks from last menstrual period (LMP), not 20 weeks post-conception like other states. Not only are there absolutely no viable fetuses at that point (there aren’t at 20 weeks conception, either), but for many women this will cut off any ability to have an abortion if genetic defects are detected in the fetus.
Most women, unless they have had complications or prior issues with pregnancies, do not have anomaly screenings until 20 weeks. In fact, few doctors will do the scans before 18 weeks at the very earliest, as the fetus needs to develop further for doctors to be able to assess all potential issues. That means that if it were discovered that the fetus had severe genetic defects, women would have absolutely no choice but to continue the pregnancy (even if it means giving birth to a child unlikely to survive more than a few days) or wait for the fetus to die inside of them and hope to miscarry on their own before they develop an infection.
The ban is unlikely to pass the Senate, which already shot down the original “fetal pain” bill. So essentially, this is just a blatant attempt for anti-choice politicians to showboat as they potentially play with women’s lives.