Oklahoma Unborn Child Protection From ‘Dismemberment Abortion’ Act (HB 1721)
This law was last updated on Mar 28, 2016
HB 1721 would make it unlawful for any person to purposely perform or attempt to perform a “dismemberment abortion” and thereby kill an “unborn child” unless it is necessary to prevent serious health risk to the pregnant woman.
The bill defines “dismemberment abortion” to mean “with 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, forceps, tongs, scissors or similar instruments that, through the convergence of two rigid levers, slice, crush, and/or grasp a portion of the unborn child’s body in order to cut or rip it off.”
The bill provides that no woman nor anyone acting under the direction of a physician (nurse, technician, secretary, receptionist or other employee or agent) is liable for performing or attempting to perform a “dismemberment abortion.”
The bill provides for civil and criminal penalties.
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.)
Passed the House on February 26 and the Senate on April 8, 2015. Signed into law by Gov. Fallin on April 13, 2015.
On October 14, 2015, an Oklahoma state court judge blocked enforcement of this law. (See Nova Health Systems v. Pruitt.)