DES MOINES, Iowa — Abortion is currently legal up to 20 weeks of pregnancy in Iowa. But state leaders are making plans in case that changes.

State lawmakers first approved Iowa’s fetal heartbeat law in 2018. The Iowa Supreme Court immediately blocked enforcement.

Following the reversal of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court, during a special session, Iowa lawmakers again approved a fetal heartbeat law. It restricts most abortions after cardiac activity has been detected, around six weeks.

Governor Kim Reynolds is now appealing an injunction that blocks that new law to the Iowa Supreme Court.

Despite blocking enforcement, the judge allowed the State Board of Medicine to consider rules for exemptions to the heartbeat law. That process will start Thursday.

Some of the exemptions include rape, incest, and severe fetal abnormalities. According to the proposed rules, physicians are required to question women seeking an abortion in cases of rape or incest. The doctor is required to determine whether the sex act constitutes rape and to document when the crime was reported to law enforcement or a public health agency. Doctors who fail to document that information would face disciplinary action.

The proposed rules also allow the doctor to require a woman to sign a certification form verifying the information about the sex crime against her.

The Board of Medicine is set to consider the proposed rules over the next two days and the public can take part. The public hearing portion will begin at 10:00 a.m. Friday.

You can attend in person at the Iowa Board of Medicine’s offices at 6200 Park Ave., Suite 100 in Des Moines or you can participate virtually via Zoom through a link on the board’s website.