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Arkansas Senate set to ban ‘barbaric and gruesome’ dismemberment abortions

If the bill passes Thursday as expected, it will go to Gov. Asa Hutchinson and could be signed next week.
Thu Jan 26, 2017 - 9:00 am EST
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Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas, January 26, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The Arkansas Senate is poised to approve a bill on Thursday banning dismemberment abortions that pro-life Gov. Asa Hutchinson could sign into law by as early as next week.

“We are very pleased that the barbaric and gruesome act of tearing unborn children limb from limb will soon end in Arkansas,” Arkansas Right to Life executive director Rose Mimms told LifeSiteNews.

The proposed law would be titled “The Arkansas Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act” and would make it a crime punishable by up to six years in jail or a fine of up to $10,000 to perform a dismemberment abortion for any other reason than to prevent either the mother’s death or the “substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.”

The bill defines a dismemberment abortion as one 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.”

It also bans those abortions where a vacuum is created to extract the child’s body parts once the dismemberment has been accomplished.

The bill not only exempts the woman who seeks the abortion from criminal sanctions but permits her to sue the doctor subsequently for damages and to seek an injunction against him performing further dismemberment abortions.

The bill moves to the State Senate on Thursday for a final vote after hearings before the Senate’s Public Health Committee. Retired obstetrician Orman Simmons testified that “This was a very horrible way for unborn babies to die and that it wasn’t necessary, that there were other ways to kill a baby if they wanted to do it,” Mimms reported.

The Arkansas legislature was already pro-life before the recent election but now it even more so, Mimms said. “All our constitutional officers are pro-life and our governor [Asa Hutchinson]  is awesome. He just spoke at our March for Life on Sunday. He guaranteed that once [the bill] reached his desk he’s’ going to sign it into law.”

Mimms said there were other pro-life bills in the works, but this one was Arkansas Right to Life’s main project this year. Two years ago, the legislature passed a law banning webcam abortions.

“We will pass these laws while we can because we know someday the tide will turn,” she said.

Under increasing restrictions and a hostile social climate, Arkansas has been reduced to one surgical abortionist and two Planned Parenthood operations doing only chemical abortions. There once were more abortionists, but Mimms said “They died or retired or moved away.”

Why has no one replaced them?

“Well, Arkansas is a pro-life state,” Mimms responded. “We’ve passed many pro-life laws. And doctors, typically, don’t want to kill babies for a living.”

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