The Iowa Board of Medicine is beginning the process of setting rules doctors must follow if the so-called fetal heartbeat abortion ban takes effect. The law that bans abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy has been blocked in court, but the Iowa Supreme Court will hear a request to let it move forward.

The rules being considered say doctors must ask questions to determine if rape or incest occurred for that exception to be used. Doctor Deborah Turner, president of the League of Women Voters, told the Board that would traumatize patients. “It is clear that these rules are written to assure that most women and those who can become pregnant and certainly girls who are victims of incest and rape are prevented from access to abortion and choice,” Turner says.

Deputy Attorney General Leif Olson disagreed with that.“We trust that doctors in their professional judgment know how to…elucidate information from a patient to get to the root of a problem,” he says. “And in this case that includes the root of the reason for why the woman is presenting herself to request an abortion.”

Doctors who violate the rules could be subject to discipline. A public comment period on the rules is set to begin December 13th.

(By Katarina Sostaric, Iowa Public Radio)