Iowa Republicans passed a bill banning abortion after six weeks, an extreme move that could tip the state for Joe Biden in the 2024 presidential election.
State lawmakers passed the bill in the dead of night Tuesday, pushing it through the Senate with a vote of 32–17 after a day of massive protests in the state Capitol. The measure now heads to the desk of Governor Kim Reynolds, who will likely sign it, despite the widespread opposition.
Iowa currently allows abortion up to 20 weeks, and the majority of state residents—61 percent—support access to the procedure. A six-week abortion ban would target people before they even know they are pregnant, and make Iowa one of the most extreme anti-abortion states in the country.
Republican Governor Kim Reynolds had signed a six-week abortion ban in 2018, but that measure was struck down the following year in the courts. After Roe v. Wade was overturned, Reynolds asked the courts to reinstate the 2018 ban, but the state Supreme Court was deadlocked on the issue, leaving the 20-week law in place.
So last week, Reynolds summoned the state legislature back for a special session with “the sole and single purpose” of passing a six-week ban. The bill includes an exception for rape only if the rape is “reported within forty-five days of the incident to a law enforcement agency or to a public or private health agency.”
Huge crowds packed the state Capitol building on Tuesday to protest against the bill. Many suspect that Reynolds is vying for a vice presidential nod—and one constituent called her out while testifying against the measure for using the abortion ban to “score political points.”
But as Iowa Republicans celebrate taking away bodily autonomy from their constituents, they may have rung their own death knell. Biden won 44.9 percent of Iowa votes in 2020, compared to Donald Trump’s 53.1 percent. But the new abortion bill could tip the scale in the other direction.
The GOP may not want to admit it, but abortion wins elections. An overwhelming majority of Americans—62 percent, to be exact—still think abortion should be legal in all or most cases, according to the Pew Research Center. What’s more, people consistently vote in favor of increasing abortion rights protections. Come 2024, Republicans may learn that the hard way.