Alabama ‘Unborn Child’ Protection from ‘Dismemberment Abortion’ Act (SB 363)
This law was last updated on Aug 28, 2018
SB 363 would prohibit a physician from performing a “dismemberment abortion” unless it is necessary to prevent serious health risk to the pregnant person.
The bill defines “dismemberment abortion” as “the purpose of causing the death of an unborn child, purposely to dismember a living unborn child and extract him or her one piece at a time from the uterus through use of clamps, grasping forceps, tongs, scissors, or similar instruments that, through the convergence of two rigid levers, slice, crush, or grasp, or any combination of the foregoing, a portion of the unborn child’s body to cut or rip it off.”
The bill would allow for a cause of action for injunctive relief and a cause of action for civil damages against a person who performs a “dismemberment abortion.”
Any person who violates this provision would be fined $10,000 and/or imprisoned for up to two years.
This law targets a procedure known as dilation and evacuation (D and E), which is frequently used during second-trimester abortions. According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, an abortion using suction aspiration can be performed up to 14 weeks’ gestation, but after 14 weeks the D and E procedure must be used to perform an abortion. As such, dilation and evacuation bans, depending upon their language, may ban all surgical abortion past 14 weeks’ gestation. (Source.)
The bill’s provisions are based on discredited claims that fetuses feel pain at 20 weeks or earlier, and that abortion is unsafe, with a high risk of physical, psychological or emotional harm. One of the foremost proponents of these discredited claims is Dr. Byron Calhoun, who is a member of Rewire’s False Witnesses Gallery.
This law is based on model legislation designed by the National Right to Life Committee.
Similar to HB 376.
Gov. Robert Bentley signed the bill into law on May 12, 2016. The law was slated to go in to effect on August 1, 2016.
The law was ruled unconstitutional by permanently enjoined by U.S. District Court Judge Myron Thompson on October 26, 2017.
On August 22, 2018, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the lower court’s ruling blocking the law.