Oklahoma has become the second state to outlaw an abortion procedure that “dismembers” the fetus in the womb as part of the process.
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed the Oklahoma Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion law late Monday.
The law, which goes into effect Nov. 1, generally affects pregnancies older than 12 weeks or in the second trimester.
The law would not apply in cases in which there’s a “serious health risk” to the woman if she doesn’t receive the abortion.
“Kansas welcomes Oklahoma as the second state to protect unborn children from dismemberment procedures,” Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback tweeted Tuesday morning.
“This law has the power to change how the public views the gruesome reality of abortion in the United States,” said Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Committee. The pro-life organization developed model legislation on the issue.
Pro-choice supporters have protested the measure, saying it is a “dangerous restriction.”
In Kansas, 20 doctors signed a letter protesting that state’s bill, saying it was blocking the “safest and most expeditious” kind of care for women needing a second-trimester abortion, said the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
“Even if we disagree about abortion, politicians shouldn’t prevent doctors from providing what they think is the best and safest medical care to their patients,” said Jennifer Dalven, director of the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project.
“This is just one more bill that chips away at a woman’s access to safe, legal abortion by substituting a politician’s judgment for a medical professional’s,” Ms. Dalven said.
Oklahoma’s new law is intended to prevent doctors from using forceps, tongs, clamps, scissors and other cutting devices to extract a living unborn child “one piece at a time.”
These “dilation and evacuation” or D&E abortions have long been used for second-trimester abortions.
Doctors who violate the law could be fined $10,000 and face professional discipline.