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Iowa

Post-Viability Abortion Restriction

Iowa's post-viability abortion restriction states that no abortion may be provided after the end of the second trimester unless necessary to preserve the woman's life or health.  The physician must make every reasonable medical effort, not inconsistent with preserving the woman's life, to preserve the life of a viable fetus.  Iowa Code Ann. § 707.7 (Enacted 1976; Last Amended 2009).

NARAL Pro-Choice America supports the legal framework established in Roe v. Wade and does not oppose restrictions on post-viability abortions so long as they contain adequate exceptions to protect the woman's life and health.  NARAL Pro-Choice America opposes Iowa's law because it is unconstitutional to the extent that it prohibits pre-viability abortion by defining viability at the end of the second trimester.  A state may not prohibit abortion prior to viability, which is that point at which a fetus is capable of "meaningful life" outside of a woman's body.  Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, 163 (1973).  Because viability is a point that varies with each pregnancy, states may not declare that it occurs at a particular gestational age.  Colautti v. Franklin, 439 U.S. 379, 388-89 (1979).


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