LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas House on Monday approved a bill that would ban a specific type of abortion procedure.
House members voted 78-10 to approve House Bill 1032 by Rep. Andy Mayberry, R-Hensley. The bill would would ban the procedure known as dilation and evacuation in which the cervix is dilated and surgical instruments are used to extract the contents of the uterus. The measure includes an exemption for situations in which the procedure is necessary to prevent a serious health risk to the mother.
Under the bill, performing the procedure would be a Class D felony punishable by up to six years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. A person who performs the procedure also would be liable for civil damages.
The bill is titled the Arkansas Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act. Mayberry told House members the bill uses the term “dismemberment abortion” — which is not a medical term — because “that is reflective of what the actual procedure is.”
“This is … a very gruesome, barbaric procedure. It is one that no civilized society should embrace,” Mayberry said.
Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas have said the bill is unconstitutional because it would infringe on a woman’s right to obtain an abortion before a fetus becomes viable, or able to survive outside the womb.
No one spoke against the bill, which goes to the Senate.