LITTLE ROCK (KFSM) -- A group of Arkansas legislators filed a bill Monday (Dec. 5) called the Arkansas Unborn Child Protection From Dismemberment Abortion Act that would ban an abortion procedure called dilation and evacuation, which is used in the second trimester of pregnancy.
The Act, filed as HB1032, defines "dismemberment abortion" as an abortion performed with the purpose of causing the death of an unborn child that purposely dismembers the living unborn child and extracts one piece at a time from the uterus through the use of clamps, grasping forceps, tongs, scissors or similar instruments.
The medical name for the procedure is dilation and evacuation and according to Planned Parenthood, it is the most commonly used procedure after about the 12th or 14th week of pregnancy.
"I think dismemberment is a little more descriptive," Rep. Andy Mayberry, R- District 27, who authored the bill, said. "And a little more accurate in reflecting what the procedure does."
According to the bill, only a physician who performs a dismemberment abortion can be held liable, not the woman who gets or attempts to get this type of abortion.
The bill does not prohibit the use of the procedure if it is necessary to prevent a serious health risk to the pregnant woman, but it does not list incest or rape as exceptions to the ban. It also does not prohibit a second-trimester abortion by any other methods.
"What I am hopeful of is that it does bring a new light to the subject, that it does help educate maybe some expectant mothers," Mayberry said.
Laura McQuade, the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, which operates clinics in Arkansas, released the following statement in response to HB1032:
"Make no mistake, House Bill 1032 is an ideological attack designed to shame and stigmatize safe and legal abortion. This is a medically unnecessary and scientifically baseless attempt to ban the most commonly used form of second trimester abortion. Impartial judges across the country have found this ban unconstitutional, including in neighboring states like Kansas and Oklahoma, and Arkansas legislators should know better than to spend taxpayer money defending a law they know is unconstitutional. Planned Parenthood Great Plains provides high-quality abortion care and will fight all attempts by politicians to intervene in private medical decisions where patients believe only licensed medical providers should be advising them."
The Kansas and Oklahoma Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act have both been challenged as being unconstitutional and are currently not being enforced pending trials.