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Dismemberment Abortion Ban Act, a top NRLC legislative priority, introduced by Senator Lankford

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Great news. On Thursday pro-life Senator James Lankford (R-Ok.) introduced legislation to nationally ban dismemberment abortion, an abortion method that involves using steel tools to tear apart a well-developed unborn child by brute force.

Last April the Dismemberment Abortion Ban Act (H.R. 3515) was introduced in the House by Congressman Chris Smith (R-N.J.), a veteran legislator who is co-chairman of the House Pro-Life Caucus, with Vicki Hartzler (R-Mo.), Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), and Trent Franks (R-Az.) as original cosponsors.

The bill is a top National Right to Life legislative priority.

“No unborn child should be subjected to the brutality of having her arms and legs torn off with steel tools that grasp, tear, and crush,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life.

The measure is based on a model state bill proposed by National Right to Life, which has already been enacted in Kansas, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana. The bill has also been introduced in Idaho, Missouri, and Nebraska, and is expected to be introduced in several other states.

The bill defines “dismemberment abortion” as “knowingly dismembering a living unborn child and extracting such unborn child one piece at a time from the uterus through the use of clamps, grasping forceps, tongs, scissors or similar instruments that, through the convergence of two rigid levers, slice, crush or grasp a portion of the unborn child’s body in order to cut or rip it off . . .”

This definition largely overlaps with what those in the abortion trade currently refer to as “dilation and evacuation” or “dilation and extraction” (D&E) abortions. The method is commonly used starting at about 14 weeks of pregnancy, and extending into the third trimester.

In introducing the Dismemberment Abortion Ban Act (S. 3306), Sen. Lankford said, “Among our most basic rights in America are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The pro-life community cannot relent in our fight to protect pre-born life.”

He added, “We disagree on many issues as a nation, including the issue of abortion. However, because of technological advancements, we clearly know that pre-born children feel pain. Surely we can all agree that dismantling a child in the womb during a late-term abortion is inhumane and is not reflective of American values.”

According to a press release from his office, last year, Lankford introduced the Health Care Conscience Rights Act, which ensures organizations, private businesses, institutions of higher education, health care providers, and insurance companies are not forced to sponsor insurance coverage that violates their religious or moral beliefs. The House passed this bill in July, but it awaits action in the Senate.

Not only did Lankford deliver a passionate speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate about Planned Parenthood last July, he also co-sponsored the Pain-Capable Unborn Protection Act and introduced legislation to redirect taxpayer funding from Planned Parenthood to Community Health Centers.

Proponents of The Dismemberment Abortion Ban Act look to the reasoning on display in Justice Anthony Kennedy dissent in the 2000 case of Stenberg v. Carhart. Regarding D&E abortion, Justice Kennedy wrote, “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.”


Chelsea Garcia is a political writer with a special interest in international relations and social issues. Events surrounding the war in Ukraine and the war in Israel are a major focus for political journalists. But as a former local reporter, she is also interested in national politics.

Chelsea Garcia studied media, communication and political science in Texas, USA, and learned the journalistic trade during an internship at a daily newspaper. In addition to her political writing, she is pursuing a master's degree in multimedia and writing at Texas.

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