The Oklahoma state Senate has approved a groundbreaking pro-life bill, HB 1721, that would ban dismemberment abortions that tear babies limb from limb. Abortion practitioners would face up to two years in prison under the legislation as well as a $10,000 fine. The pro-life bill now moves to Governor Mary Falin, who is expected to sign it into law.
Both the Senate and state House supported the “Oklahoma Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act.” House members voted 84-2 for the bill.
If enacted, Oklahoma will become the second state in the nation to protect unborn children from dismemberment abortions that tear them apart limb from limb. Yesterday, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed similar legislation prohibiting dismemberment abortions in the state. Model legislation provided by National Right to Life is also under consideration in the legislatures of Missouri and South Carolina.
“We applaud the Oklahoma legislature for standing up for unborn children by passing the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act,” said National Right to Life 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.”
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Dismemberment abortions are as brutal as the partial-birth abortion method, which is now illegal in the United States, Tobias said.
“The Oklahoma legislature is to be commended for protecting unborn children and prohibiting this barbaric inhumanity,” said Oklahomans For Life State Chairman Tony Lauinger.
“Dismemberment abortion kills a baby by tearing her apart limb from limb,” said National Right to Life Director of State Legislation Mary Spaulding Balch, J.D. “Before the first trimester ends, the unborn child has a beating heart, brain waves, and every organ system in place. Dismemberment abortions occur after the baby has reached these milestones.”
But would such an abortion ban be constitutional given the Roe v. Wade decision? The group points to the high court’s ruling in the partial-birth abortion case as grounds for banning dismemberment abortions too.
In his dissent to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2000 Stenberg v. Carhart decision, Justice Kennedy observed that in D&E dismemberment abortions, “The fetus, in many cases, dies just as a human adult or child would: It bleeds to death as it is torn limb from limb. The fetus can be alive at the beginning of the dismemberment process and can survive for a time while its limbs are being torn off.” Justice Kennedy added in the Court’s 2007 opinion, Gonzales v. Carhart, which upheld the ban on partial-birth abortion, that D&E abortions are “laden with the power to devalue human life…”
“When abortion textbooks describe in cold, explicit detail exactly how to kill a human being by ripping off arms and legs piece by piece, civilized members of society have no choice but to stand up and demand a change,” added Spaulding Balch. “When you think it can’t be uglier, the abortion industry continues to shock with violent methods of abortion.”