By Nicole Grundmeier

How is your employer or your business adapting to potential changes regarding abortion law in Iowa? I would like to hear from you as soon as possible. Please email me:

While the Business Record is apolitical, we report on governmental decisions that affect business. Through our Fearless initiative, we believe it’s imperative to talk about policy related to gender and family issues.

Here is what happened last week, along with additional background: A law banning doctors from performing abortions in almost any circumstance in Iowa took effect with Gov. Kim Reynolds’ signature Friday afternoon. State legislators had approved the restrictions Tuesday.

Under the law, doctors are generally prohibited from performing an abortion if an abdominal ultrasound can detect cardiac activity in the womb. That usually happens about six weeks after the end of a girl or a woman’s last menstrual period; girls and women often are not aware they are pregnant before that time.

Exceptions to the ban include a medical emergency for the mother, an unsurvivable fetal abnormality, a pregnancy that resulted from rape or incest and was reported to authorities before a deadline, and “any spontaneous abortion, commonly known as a miscarriage, if not all of the products of conception are expelled.”

Lawmakers acted after the U.S. and Iowa supreme courts overturned constitutional protections for abortion rights in 2022. Republicans, who hold sizable majorities in both chambers of the Legislature, and Reynolds had hoped state courts would allow a nearly identical law, passed in 2018, to take effect for the first time, but judges said that was not permissible. That set up last week’s one-day special legislative session.

The courts will have a significant say in the fate of this law as well. At the moment Reynolds was signing House File 732, lawyers for Planned Parenthood and the state were arguing in a Polk County courtroom about whether the ban violated the Iowa Constitution and should be immediately blocked. District Judge Joseph Seidlin said he expects to rule today or Tuesday.

Iowa joins 13 other states with the nation’s strictest abortion policies. Opponents of the law say not being able to terminate unwanted or dangerous pregnancies will threaten the lives of girls and women and have negative outcomes for families. Supporters said that abortion is the “human rights atrocity of our time” and that the exceptions in the bill will allow everybody to receive appropriate medical care.

More information about developments from late last week can be found here.

I would like to hear how your employer, business, nonprofit, university, school, etc. is riding the waves. As the Business Record and Fearless move forward and cover the effects on the business community, we want to hear how you think this could affect individual businesses and the overall business community in Iowa.