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Kim Reynolds Signs 6-Week Abortion Bill

Gov. Kim Reynolds (R-IA) just signed a bill that bans most abortions in Iowa as early as 6 weeks. Upon signing, she said: "This week, in a rare and historic special session, the Iowa legislature voted for a second time to reject the inhumanity of abortion and pass the fetal heartbeat law." The law does not punish the woman for having an abortion. It punishes only the person who performed the abortion. If that is an out-of-state doctor who prescribed abortion pills, though, there isn't much Iowa can do about punishing the doctor. Also, eastern Iowa borders Illinois and Wisconsin and northern Iowa borders Minnesota, all states where abortion is much more easily available. Even Des Moines, which is in the middle of the state, is only a 3-hour drive from Rochester, MN. In practice, the law is mostly about grandstanding since any Iowa woman who wants an abortion will have multiple ways of getting one.

Iowa isn't the first state to pass a 6-week ban on abortion, but this law is significant for a completely different reason: Reynolds is vice presidential material. She is a conservative, but not a bats**t crazy conservative. And she is a woman, of course. If Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis, or some other nominee wants a woman on the ticket, a Midwestern governor is a reasonable choice. In this regard, Reynolds is primarily competing with Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD) in the Midwestern governors' pool. South Dakota isn't exactly the Midwest, but it's as close at it gets if you want a non-Reynolds woman Republican. After that, it's Arkansas, which most definitely is not part of the Midwest.

Signing this bill could have implications downstream. Donald Trump has been trying to have it both ways, His stand on abortion is kind of "the states should decide." That is not what the anti-abortion zealots want to hear. They want to hear: "Abortion is murder, no different than shooting somebody point blank with a Colt .45." If Trump were to pick Reynolds, the anti-abortion forces would cheer and think he is really with them after all, even if he is shy about saying it. But the pro-choice forces would be repelled and that could increase turnout for the Democrats.

For DeSantis, the calculus is different. He signed a 6-week ban himself, so picking her just doubles down on what he has already done. This makes her more acceptable to him since she is now foursquare in his camp. We think her signing the bill increases the chances that DeSantis would pick her as a running mate but might decrease the chances that Trump might pick her. Of course, there are so many other factors that could play a role that this is hardly the whole story. But you can bet that if either candidate picks her, it will only magnify the role of abortion in the election. (V)

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