Arkansas Unborn Child Protection from ‘Dismemberment Abortion’ Act (HB 1032)
This law was last updated on Aug 17, 2017
HB 1032 would prohibit a person from purposely performing or attempting to perform a “dismemberment abortion” and thereby killing an “unborn child” unless it is necessary to prevent a serious health risk to the pregnant patient.
A person who is accused of violating this provision may seek a hearing before the Arkansas State Medical Board regarding whether the “dismemberment abortion” was necessary to prevent a serious health risk to the pregnant patient.
A person who violates this provision would be committing a class D felony.
The bill defines dismemberment abortion to mean:
“an abortion performed with the purpose of causing the death of an unborn child that purposely dismembers the living unborn child and extracts one (1) 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 (2) rigid levers, slice, crush, or grasp a portion of the body of the unborn child to cut or tear off a portion of the body of the unborn child.”
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 would allow certain individuals to pursue injunctive relief and civil damages against another person who violates this provision.
A cause of action for injunctive relief against a person who has purposely violated this provision may be maintained by:
- The woman who receives or attempted to receive a dismemberment abortion;
- A person who is the spouse, parent, or legal guardian of the woman who receives or attempted to receive a dismemberment abortion; or
- A current or former licensed healthcare provider of the woman who receives or attempted to receive a dismemberment abortion.
The injunction would prevent the abortion provider from performing or attempting to perform further dismemberment abortions that violate this law.
This law is based on model legislation designed by the National Right to Life Committee.
Passed the House on January 23, 2017 by a 78-10 vote.
Passed the Senate on January 26, 2017 by a 25-6 vote.
Signed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
***U.S. District Court Judge Kristine Baker issued a preliminary injunction on July 28, 2017, blocking the state of Arkansas from enforcing four new abortion restrictions, including HB 1032.***
- Sonia Eubanks Barker
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