Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed a bill Tuesday banning 'dismemberment abortions,' a horrifying procedure in which a pregnancy is terminated by the ripping of a fetus from its mother's womb in pieces.
Kansas is the first state to ban the procedure, also known as the "dilation and evacuation process", which is commonly used to terminate pregnancies up to 24 weeks.The bill, called the "Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act," SB 95, will go into effect July 1.
"This is a horrific procedure and we are pleased to ban it in Kansas and we hope it will be banned nationally," Gov. Brownback (R) said on Tuesday.
According to records released on April 1 by the Kansas Health & Environment Dept., the dismemberment method was used in 637 abortions, or 8.8% of the total 7,263 Kansas abortions reported, in 2014. Additionally, dismemberment abortion procedure saw a 9.1 percent increase between 2013 and 2014.
As part of the abortion process, explains Minnesota Concerned Citizens for Life, "forceps with sharp metal jaws are used to grasp parts of the developing baby, which are then twisted and torn away. This continues until the child's entire body is removed from the womb. Because the baby's skull has often hardened to bone by this time, the skull must sometimes be compressed or crushed to facilitate removal."
The AFP reports that the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act gained widespread support after introduction in January by lead sponsor, Sen. Garrett Love, who asserted, "In visiting with my constituents, many have been stunned that this practice (dismemberment) is going on in Kansas and have demanded that it be stopped." He also recalled how himself and other members of the Senate Health committee "felt sick" after hearing an ex-abortionist describe the method of "of tearing the arms, legs, and other body parts off until a baby dies."
He added, "People in my generation are outraged by this procedure; they see the sonograms of their friends, family and their own babies on Facebook and realize that in those pictures are little, defenseless babies. They need us to defend them because they cannot defend themselves...This is a truly barbaric practice we must end in Kansas."
Since then, the bill has been praised by many in the pro-life community, including Kathy Ostrowski, Kansans for Life's legislative director.
"SB 95 bans a particularly gruesome abortion method in which a living unborn child in her mother's womb is ripped apart into pieces by an abortionist using sharp metal tools," said Ostrowski.
"The Unborn Child Protection From Dismemberment Abortion Act is the first of what we hope will be many state laws banning dismemberment abortions," added Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. "This law has the power to transform the landscape of abortion policy in the United States."
To commemorate this ground-breaking measure, Gov. Brownback will travel across Kansas for ceremonial signings of the bill on April 28.