The Arkansas Legislature sent a bill to the governor’s desk Thursday that would protect unborn babies from brutal dismemberment abortions.
Arkansas House Bill 1032, or the Arkansas Unborn Child Protection From Dismemberment Abortion Act, would prohibit dismemberment, or dilation and evaluation (D&E), abortions, a common second-trimester abortion procedure. Exceptions would be allowed in rare cases where there is a serious risk to the woman’s health, KFSM News 5 reports. Doctors who violate the measure could be held liable; however, women would not be punished, the report states.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson previously said he will sign the bill.
“I have read the bill and it provides safeguards that are important, including an exception for circumstances that put the health of the mother in serious risk, and it assures that there is no penalty on the mother,” Hutchinson said in a statement Monday.
A dismemberment abortion typically is performed on a nearly fully-formed, living unborn baby in the second trimester. It is a barbaric and dangerous procedure in which the unborn child is ripped apart in the womb and pulled out in pieces.
According to the Arkansas Department of Health, 683 of the 3,771 abortions performed in 2015 were D&E, or dismemberment abortions.
“Dismemberment abortion … [is a] gruesome, barbaric procedure. It is one that no civilized society should embrace,” said State Rep. Andy Mayberry, R-Hensley, earlier this week, according to Arkansas Online.
However, Planned Parenthood Great Plains CEO Laura McQuade claimed the bill is an “ideological attack designed to shame and stigmatize safe and legal abortions.” She also claimed it is unconstitutional.
The American Civil Liberties Union already has threatened to sue if the bill passes. ACLU lawyer Victoria Leigh told a House committee that the bill is “facially unconstitutional” and a legal challenge could cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars, the report continues.
The ACLU challenged a similar Arkansas law last year, and succeeded in convincing a judge to block it.
The dismemberment abortion ban embodies model legislation from the National Right to Life Committee that would prohibit “dismemberment abortion,” using forceps, clamps, scissors or similar instruments on a living unborn baby to remove him or her from the womb in pieces. Such instruments are used in dilation and evacuation procedures.
Dismemberment abortion bans also have been voted into law in Kansas, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana. Mississippi and West Virginia have their laws in effect, while the other states are battling legal challenges.
The Arkansas legislation is scheduled to go into effect in the summer, according to the AP.