Kansas Becomes First State to Ban “Dismemberment Abortions”

In early April, Kansas became the first state in the United States to place severe restrictions on second-trimester abortions. The law, The “Unborn Child Protection From Dismemberment Abortion Act” (SB95) was signed on April 7 by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback ® and bans “dismemberment abortion.” The procedure is commonly known as dilation and evacuation (D&E) and is the most common second-trimester abortion procedure.

The law 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.”

In contrast, WebMD defines D&E procedures as Dilation and evacuation (D&E) is done in the second trimester of pregnancy. It usually includes a combination of vacuum aspiration, dilation and curettage, and the use of surgical instruments (such as forceps).

WebMD goes on to say that an ultrasound is done to determine the size of the uterus and the number of weeks the patient is along. After the ultrasound, the medical practitioner will insert a cervical dilator to help dilate the cervix. WebMD also states that D&E typically takes up to 30 minutes in clinics where doctors are specifically trained in the procedure.

Though it should be noted that the Kansas measure won’t ban all D&E abortions, just those in which the fetal death is caused by dismemberment with forceps or other instruments.

Because the Kansas law doesn’t use medical terminology and instead partakes in emotion-laden terms, the restrictions enforced in the law have added more fire to the flame that pro-choice and anti-abortion activists have stirred surrounding the politics of conversation and other pertinent matters.

Carol Tobias, the president of The National Right to Life Committee, the committee which drafted Kansas’ law in entirety, has publically stated that they hope other states will follow suit.

“This law has the power to transform the landscape of abortion policy in the United States,” president of the National Right to Life Committee said in a released statement.

Tobias’ ambition may soon become a reality as a similar bill passed in Oklahoma on April 14.

Laura McQuade, president of Kansas and Mid-Missouri’s Planned Parenthood advocacy group was “disappointed but not surprised” by the signing of SB95, “which was written not by physicians and medical experts, but by a national interest group bent on banning abortion across the country,” as said in a statement released by McQuade.

McQuade also stated that: “Kansas is now not only the sole state with this atrocious law; it also now has more restrictions on abortion than any state in the U.S.,” Laura McQuade, president of Kansas and Mid-Missouri’s Planned Parenthood advocacy group said in a Facebook post.

As McQuade briefly mentioned, Kansas has already introduced a number of limits on abortion, including: requiring women to receive counseling and wait 24 hours before getting an abortion.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 92 percent of all abortions are performed in the first trimester.

“Unborn Child Protection From Dismemberment Abortion Act” will be effective on July 1.

A map of abortion bans in the midwest


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