Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin has signed into law a groundbreaking pro-life bill l, 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.
Both the Senate and state House supported the “Oklahoma Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act.” House members voted 84-2 for the bill.
Fallin issued a statement Monday afternoon: “HB 1721 is an important pro-life measure that outlaws gruesome mid-term abortions. I am proud to sign a law that will strengthen protections for unborn children in Oklahoma.”
Rep. Pam Peterson, R-Tulsa, and Sen. Josh Brecheen, R-Coalgate, sponsored the bill and thanked Governor Fallin.
“I am pleased that this horrific procedure to destroy an unborn child by ripping it apart limb from limb through dismemberment is now outlawed,” Peterson said.
Brecheen said: “I am more than pleased with the passage and signature on the bill. In the last 15 years, over 1,500 unborn children in Oklahoma were aborted through the dismemberment procedure.”
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Oklahoma becomes the second state in the nation to protect unborn children from dismemberment abortions that tear them apart limb from limb. Earlier this month, 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.”
“The Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act is starting to transform the debate about abortion policy in the United States,” Tobias added. “We applaud the efforts of our affiliate, Oklahomans For Life, and the pro-life commitment of the Oklahoma legislature and Governor Fallin in seeing this groundbreaking bill become law in the Sooner State.”
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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.
“Governor Mary Fallin is to be commended for her quick action in signing into law the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act, which will prohibit this barbaric inhumanity in our state,” said Oklahomans For Life State Chairman Tony Lauinger. “We appreciate, also, the exceptional leadership of Representatives Pam Peterson and Senator Josh Brecheen for spearheading the enactment of this landmark lifesaving legislation.”
“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.”