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Oklahoma bans dismemberment abortions

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin Associated Press/Photo by Sue Ogrocki

Oklahoma bans dismemberment abortions

Oklahoma is set to become the second state to prohibit late-term, dismemberment abortions.

In yesterday’s overwhelming 37-4 vote, the Oklahoma Senate passed a bill based on model legislation from the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC). The House already passed the bill in February by an 84-2 vote. Though Republican Gov. Mary Fallin hasn’t indicated whether she will sign it, she has approved pro-life bills in the past.

If the bill becomes law, Oklahoma will join Kansas in banning the late-term abortions. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed a similar measure yesterday.

Planned Parenthood argued the bill invades women’s personal medical decisions. “In all cases, a woman and her doctor need every medical option available,” said Angie Remington, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland.

But even pro-abortion Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has voiced her disapproval for the procedure. And Justice Anthony Kennedy once described it as “laden with the power to devalue human life.”

In Oklahoma, about 5 percent of the 5,000 abortions performed in 2013 used the dismemberment method, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health. Though the procedure is uncommon, it is brutal.

Dismemberment is the standard procedure for second trimester abortions. Abortionists can’t use aspiration abortions at that stage in the pregnancy because babies’ skeletons already have formed. Instead, they tear the babies apart to remove them, collecting the pieces afterward to ensure the womb is empty.

“The Oklahoma legislature is to be commended for protecting unborn children and prohibiting this barbaric inhumanity,” said Oklahomans For Life State Chairman Tony Lauinger.

If Fallin signs the bill, abortionists could face up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine for using the procedure. The bill does allow an exception for a “serious health risk” to the mother. Missouri and South Carolina also are considering similar measures.

“We applaud the Oklahoma legislature for standing up for unborn children by passing the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act,” said NRLC President Carol Tobias. “This is a transformative law that has the power to change how the public views the gruesome reality of abortion in the United States.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Courtney Crandell Courtney is a former WORLD correspondent.

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