US state approves law banning abortions once foetal heartbeat detected

The US state of Iowa has approved a ban on most abortions once a foetal heartbeat is detected.

The BBC report how lawmakers passed the bill in two votes and have now sent the bill to the governor to sign into law.

Last year Iowa Republicans successfully banned abortions after 20 weeks but the latest bill will ban most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.

Iowa's Republican governor Kim Reynolds has not said if she will sign the bill but local Republican representative Shannon Lundgren has told local media that she believes the bill will become law.

"We're in the majority for a reason and that includes advancing the pro-life cause," Ms Lundgren told the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier.

"We are alive when our hearts start beating and our life is over when it stops," Dawn Pettengil, another Republican Representative from Iowa, told CBS News.

Democratic Representative Beth Wessel-Kroeschell spoke against the legislation.

"All women, regardless of age, income or race, should be able to obtain reproductive health services, including abortion, free from political and economic barriers," Ms Wessel-Kroeschell said.

Rights groups have said the bill will be the country's most restrictive with critics arguing it is unconstitutional and makes an abortion illegal before most women even realise they are pregnant.

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