Oklahoma Senate Passes Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin

WASHINGTON — The Oklahoma state Senate today passed the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act (HB 1721) by a vote of 37-4. In February, the bill was passed overwhelmingly in the state House of Representatives. It now goes to Gov. Mary Fallin, who is expected to sign the measure.

If enacted, Oklahoma will become the second state in the nation to protect unborn children from dismemberment abortions that tears them apart limb by limb. Yesterday, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed similar legislation prohibiting dismemberment abortions in the state. The National Right to Life model legislation 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 Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “This is a transformative law that has the power to change how the public views the gruesome nature of abortion in the United States.”

Dismemberment abortions are as brutal as the partial-birth abortion method, which is now illegal in the United States.

In his dissent to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2000 Stenberg v. Carhart decision, Justice Anthony Kennedy observed that in 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…”

“The Oklahoma legislature is to be commended for protecting unborn children and prohibiting this barbaric inhumanity,” said Tony Lauinger, state chairman of Oklahomans for Life.

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“Dismemberment abortion kills a baby by tearing her apart limb from limb,” said Mary Spaulding Balch, J.D., National Right to Life director of state legislation. “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.”

A medical illustration of a D&E dismemberment abortion is available here.

Background materials on the bill are available on the National Right to Life website. Included in the background materials is the testimony of Anthony Levatino, M.D., before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice in May 2013, in which he described in great detail the D&E dismemberment abortions he once performed.