Ark. Governor Signs Bill Banning Second-Trimester Abortion Procedure Into Law

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LITTLE ROCK (KFSM) — Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed a bill Thursday (Jan. 26) banning a common abortion procedure used during the second trimester.

The bill, called the Arkansas Unborn Child Protection From Dismemberment Abortion Act, bans a procedure doctors call dilation and evacuation.

The GOB-majority Senate passed the bill with a 25-6 vote Thursday morning. The GOP-majority House passed the bill Monday with a 78-10 vote.

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.

According to Planned Parenthood, dilation and evacuation is the most commonly used procedure after about the 12th or 14th week of pregnancy.

The bill states 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.

Laura McQuade, the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, which operates clinics in Arkansas, released the following statement in response to HB 1032 Thursday:

Not only are lawmakers attempting to practice medicine without a license, they are doing so with complete disregard for what medical experts advise. We see HB 1032 for what it is – an attempt to ban safe, legal abortion because of the ideology of a few elected officials under the dome. As Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes (PPGPV) has done time and time again, we will support any and all efforts to defend our patients’ constitutional rights to safe, legal abortion.

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.

The Arkansas ban goes into effect 90 days after the legislature wraps up its session sometime in April or May. The ban is expected to be challenged in court.