Oklahoma Unborn Child Protection From ‘Dismemberment Abortion’ Act (HB 1721)
This law was last updated on Nov 4, 2019
HB 1721 makes it unlawful for any person to purposely perform or attempt to perform a “dismemberment abortion” unless it is necessary to prevent serious health risk to the pregnant person.
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 pregnant person 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.)
This law is based on model legislation designed by the National Right to Life Committee.
Passed the House on February 26 and the Senate on April 8, 2015. Signed into law by Gov. Fallin on April 13, 2015.
7/12/19 – Oklahoma County District Judge Cindy Truong upheld the ban. The law will take effect once she issues a formal written opinion.
11/4/19 – The Oklahoma Supreme Court blocked the ban from taking effect pending plaintiffs’ appeal.
- National Right to Life Committee — Drafted Model Law