Kansas Bans ‘Dismemberment’ Abortions

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Rachel Stoltzfoos Staff Reporter
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Kansas banned an abortion procedure Tuesday where the doctor removes a living unborn baby from the womb by a combination of suction and the use of a surgical instrument.

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback signed the ban into law Tuesday, making Kansas the first state to ban a particular kind of procedure, reported The Wall Street Journal. It’s a common procedure usually performed in a woman’s second trimester of pregnancy.

The law, in effect July 1, bans the “dilation and evacuation” procedure and redefines it as “dismemberment.” About 9 percent of abortions could be affected, reported The New York Times.

Alternatives to the procedure are more dangerous for some women, and can require days of waiting and admission to hospital facilities, gynecologist and obstetrician Kathleen Morell told the Times. “When it is safe to offer a choice of induction or [dilation and evacuation],” my patients overwhelmingly choose D and E,” she said. “They are able to be asleep and comfortable for the procedure and then can go home to their own beds at night.”

After the woman’s cervix is dilated, the physician inserts a tube connected to a bottle and pump to vacuum part of the living unborn baby out of the womb, then goes in with a surgical tool to pull out the remaining parts, sometimes in pieces.

A spokeswoman for Brownback told The WSJ it is “a horrific procedure.” Brownback hopes other states follow his lead and pass similar laws.

It’s unclear whether the ban would hold up under a legal challenge. The Supreme Court has allowed partial birth abortion bans, with the understanding other methods are readily available, so if this new ban is determined overly burdensome or too limiting, it could be overturned.

The ban does not have an exception for rape or incest, but does have an exception for life of the mother.

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